JASON’S PICK - WINNER

Inmate Escapes From Swedish Prison, Goes To Dentist, Turns Self Back In

A 51-year-old Swedish inmate broke out of prison in November "because he had a toothache and wanted to go the dentist," officials said, the AFP reported Saturday.

The inmate, who was scheduled to be released the next day anyway, turned himself into police after getting his tooth treated. His sentence -- originally one month -- was only increased by one day.

The man told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter he had been complaining to prison officials about the pain for four days and finally busted out because he "just couldn't stand it," according to a translation by The Local.

(Source: Huffington Post)

KRISTEN’S PICK

Doctors to perform 26 surgeries — for free

Next weekend, a small group of doctors will perform a marathon day of surgery at a Little Rock hospital, replacing hips and knees for more than two dozen patients who have no insurance and can't afford the procedures.

Everything and everyone involved in the process — from the surgeons and nurses to the artificial joints — comes free of cost to the patients, many of whom have been suffering from debilitating pain for decades.

The free surgeries are made possible by Operation Walk USA, an organization that formed in 2011 after the success of Operation Walk, which provided free surgeries internationally. Operation Walk USA has provided nearly 300 patients in the United States with joint replacements during special events in 2011 and 2012.

"There's tremendous joy and gratification in taking care of patients with severe disease," said Dr. Adolph V. Lombardi, an orthopedic surgeon in New Albany, Ohio, who is also president of Operation Walk USA. "There's just been an overwhelming joy of taking care of these patients who would have never had the opportunity to have this operation."

This year, more than 230 patients will receive free hip and knee replacements surgeries at 70 participating hospitals nationwide from Dec. 2 to Dec 7. More than 130 orthopedic surgeons have volunteered their time to provide the services for the patients, who don't have insurance and aren't eligible for government assistance, Lombardi said. Medical manufacturers donate supplies for the surgeries, hospitals provide operating rooms and everyone involved volunteers their time.

Twenty-six of those surgeries will happen at Little Rock's St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center on Dec. 7.

(Source: SFGate.com)


FRECKLES' PICK

Malls Offer Quiet Santa Visits for Children With Autism

This holiday season, some malls across North America are rolling out programs offering quiet visits with Santa for children with autism.

A visit with Santa Claus at the mall can be an overwhelming experience – especially for some children with autism. The loud noises, crowds and blaring holiday music can be unbearable.

This holiday season, some malls across North America are rolling out programs offering quiet visits with Santa for children with autism. Malls with the program offer one-on-one time with the Big Man in Red before operating hours, minus the crowds and holiday hoopla.

Parents at a mall in Virginia Beach are grateful for the quiet time with Santa. Local Penny Madsen, whose son has autism, teared up when she watched him meet Santa. She says, “He’s such a great kid, but he has such an aversion to other people, strangers usually … So when he just jumped on his seat with Santa, it really tore me up.” (Huffington Post)