Thursday, December 4, 2014
Medical Society: Kris Kringle, reindeer exonerated in hit & run
Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Kris “Santa Claus” Kringle and his reindeer are not responsible for the hit-and-run accident that injured a grandma while she was walking home from the family house Christmas Eve, according to the results of an extensive investigation released Tuesday.
“This investigation clears Santa and his reindeer of any wrongdoing. Christmas will stay on schedule and children across the world can anticipate timely visits, so they shouldn’t stay up late on December 24,” said Chuck Moran, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Medical Society, which oversaw the investigation.
But Cousin Mel, who allegedly was up to no good, remains a person of interest, according to medical sleuths who reviewed evidence in the 35-year-old holiday mystery.
Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Medical Society — which previously examined the secret to Kris Kringle’s long life (he turned 1,744-years-old this year) and theories into Tiny Tim Cratchit’s health problems — launched an in-depth investigation into the 1979 unsolved Christmas Eve assault on an unidentified granny popularized in the classic tune “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”
Family members discovered Grandma on Christmas morning at the crime scene, according to published reports. She survived but was hospitalized with hoof prints on her forehead and incriminating “Claus” marks on her back, leading to speculation that Kringle and company were responsible.
But some so-called “Santa Supporters,” including Pennsylvania Medical Society President Dr. Karen Rizzo, have long believed that Kringle was the victim of a snow job and that Grandma’s injuries could have been the result of a medical issue.
“It’s too suspicious that Grandpa was taking it so well, watching football, drinking beer and playing cards with Cousin Mel,” Rizzo said. “It’s a setup … 100 percent setup.”
In reopening the case, the medical investigators cited song lyrics as providing “some of the biggest clues” such as pointing toward a health-related cause for the accident:
“She’d been drinkin’ too much eggnog
And we’d begged her not to go
But she’d left her medication
So she stumbled out the door into the snow.”
Missing a dose of medication combined with overindulging in alcoholic beverages could have impaired Grandma’s walking ability, the investigator determined.
Dr. Dan Kimball, president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Physicians, suggested Grandma may have experienced an attack of low blood sugar.
“If Grandma is diabetic and maybe drank too much alcoholic eggnog, I could see this as being a possibility,” Kimball said. “Severe hypoglycemia is also known as diabetic shock and it can cause fainting, seizures, coma and unconsciousness. If she was walking home by herself and had any of these happen, it’s possible that something bad could happen.”
Dr. Todd Green, who heads the Pennsylvania Allergy & Asthma Association, suggested a food allergy could have made Grandma pass out in the landing path of Kringle’s reindeer team.
“Maybe there was some almond milk in Grandma’s eggnog and she had an allergic reaction,” Green said. “If she realized she was without her epi-pen, maybe she darted out of the house and was attempting to get home to where her medication was?”
The team also looked at the possibility that distracted driving could be responsible for the accident, citing lyrics toward the end of the song suggesting that Kringle was a bad driver (“They should never give a license to a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves”).
But the president of the Pennsylvania College of Emergency Physicians, Dr. Michael Bohrn, said that theory was quickly dismissed after a review of Santa’s driving history as well as medical records for lead reindeer, Rudolph.
“We know that Santa’s lead reindeer can navigate the sleigh through the worst of foggy conditions,” he explained. “Also, Santa is a very reliable driver and wouldn’t break the law by texting and driving at the same time.”
Ophthalmologist Dr. Drew Stoken added that the team found no evidence that Santa’s vision was impaired the night of the accident.
Stoken added that Kringle showed no sign of diabetes or its related eye problems, such as blurred vision, at his last annual eye exam, a checkup recommended for everyone age 60 and older for early detection of eye trouble.
“He may wear glasses to read, but otherwise he has pretty good eyesight,” said Stoken, president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology, the official ophthalmologists for the North Pole.
“I can’t go into specifics because of HIPAA (privacy laws), but trust me his vision meets the requirements to drive a vehicle.”