Girl Who Lost Her Fingers in Fire Gets Touching Gift
It was a little out of season, but after several failed attempts modern medicine made a 6-year-old’s Christmas wish come true. Nikea Warrick lost all her fingers in a 1983 house fire in Stratford, Conn. But surgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital has given her a new thumb that is now her “prized possession,” said Alice Greene, the grandmother with whom Nikea lives. “She loves it,” Greene said. “She kisses it all the time.” A brief experiment three years ago with artificial fingers failed because they could not give the girl a sense of touch, Greene said. In August, 1986, two toes were transplanted to Nikea’s hand as a thumb and finger, but they had to be removed because of a lack of circulation. Last December, said her grandfather, Thomas Greene, Nikea brought tears to a shopping mall Santa Claus with her request for one finger. In July, she had another operation. Dr. Stephen Ariyan, chief of plastic surgery for the hospital, headed the team that created her thumb. Ariyan took a bone chip from Nikea’s hip, fused it to the thumb knuckle on her right hand, then cut a U-shaped flap in her abdomen, where he implanted the bone. The flap of skin then attached itself to the bone, while her arm was restrained until the healed thumb could be taken out. The first three times the procedure was tried, there were problems with the blood flow to the thumb and it was removed. But the fourth operation in August was a success. “She isn’t used to it,” Alice Greene said. “She’s always banging it on something and saying, ‘Oh, my thumb. I forgot.’ ”
--A mannequin was impersonating an officer, with much success, when someone broke the window of his patrol car and stole him. Lindenwold, N.J., police had placed the life-size dummy behind the wheel of a parked squad car to slow down speeders without tying up an officer. “The thing was very successful,” Police Chief Raymond Wilson said. “It looked so real a woman stopped one day and walked up and asked directions.” Police have not identified the thief, who left behind the mannequin’s uniform and wig.
--Sponsors mobilized 341 security personnel, and police dispatched 50 of their finest in case things got “Bad,” but Michael Jackson’s opening concert in Japan went on without incident before a sellout crowd of 38,000 in Tokyo’s Korakuen Stadium. The only sign of crime was scalpers hawking tickets outside the stadium, normally home to the Yomiuri Giants baseball team. No one was arrested. It was the first of 13 concerts that will keep the 29-year-old superstar in Japan until mid-October, when he continues a 12-nation world tour.