The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 14, 2006; 1:31 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- The 78-year-old lawyer who was shot by Vice President Dick Cheney in a hunting accident has some birdshot lodged in his heart and he had a "minor heart attack," a hospital official said Tuesday.
Peter Banko, the hospital administrator at Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial, said Harry Whittington had the heart attack early Tuesday while being evaluated.
He said there was an irregularity in the heartbeat caused by a birdshot pellet, and doctors performed a cardiac catheterization. Whittington expressed a desire to leave the hospital, but Banko said he would probably stay for another week.
Whittington, a prominent Republican attorney from Austin, was accidentally sprayed with shotgun pellets when Cheney was aiming for a quail Saturday.
Whittington had initially been placed in intensive care. He had been moved to a "step-down unit" Monday after doctors decided to leave several birdshot pellets lodged in his skin rather than try to remove them.
A Texas Parks and Wildlife Department report said Whittington was retrieving a downed bird and stepped out of the hunting line he was sharing with Cheney. "Another covey was flushed and Cheney swung on a bird and fired, striking Whittington in the face, neck and chest at approximately 30 yards," the report said.
The wildlife department issued a report Monday that found the main factor contributing to the accident was a "hunter's judgment factor." No other secondary factors were found to have played a role.
© 2006 The Associated Press