Friday, 27 July 2007

Oscar the nursing home cat can sense death

His name is Oscar. He's not the friendliest cat. But he has an uncanny knack for predicting within hours when nursing home patients with whom he lives are about to die.

Oscar lives at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, and is the subject of a fascinating essay in this week's issue of the prestigious medical journal, the New England Journal of Medicine.

What makes Oscar special is his ability to sense when one of the hospice's residents is about to die.

Every day, Oscar makes his rounds among the patients, entering each room and giving each patient a sniff. When he senses that someone is near the end of his or life, he will hop onto their bed and curl up beside them. Within hours, without fail, the patient will die.

Oscar has demonstrated his prognostication skills at least 25 times. He's considered so accurate that nursing home staff will immediately call family members once Oscar has chosen someone, since it usually means they have less than four hours to live.

Dr. David Dosa, a geriatrician from Brown University in Providence, tells Oscar's story, noting that the feline has never been wrong yet.

"His mere presence at the bedside is viewed by physicians and nursing home staff as an almost absolute indicator of impending death," Dosa writes.

Raised at the nursing home since he was a kitten, Oscar is described as aloof -- even, at times, grouchy. But when he is on a death watch, he is as warm as can be. He will nuzzle a dying patient and purr, perhaps trying to offer whatever comfort he can.

"For his work, he is highly regarded by the physicians and staff at Steere House and by the families of the residents whom he serves," Dosa writes.

The staff appreciates Oscar so much, a local hospice agency has even erected a plaque to him that reads: "For his compassionate hospice care, this plaque is awarded to Oscar the Cat."
Now I did not write this to enlighten anyone.Most of you might have heard of this cat-Oscar.He is not considered as a physcic or anything. His skill,if you wanna call it that is considered as something more related to a bio-chemical activity.The cat is also appreciated and well recognised in positive ways in medical fields etc,.

What I did write this is more to see how this incident(s) would have gone down in India.How?
People would have gone bonkers.As usual the jobless people of Headlines Today and Aaj Tak would have dedicated a 12 hour segment to the cat! But there would have been more significant reactions. Superstitous that our people are, they would have come to an agreement that it is infact the cat that causes the death.It is not that the cat can realise death...but cause it.
No medical marvel here! Only god's fury. So what do they do?- KILL THE CAT! The holy goddess of the blah blah blah powers is angry on us for blah blah blah reasons.So we to sacrifice the bodily form of the cat to the goddess and perform the holy rituals of blah blah blah or we will all be doomed!!! :O
They kill the cat, do whatever the holy men say and phew! we are saved.Even a portion of the so called educated class agree.Boy! That was a close shave! Wasnt it!

LOL! Thankfully the cat is not in India!

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