Perhaps you recall the story of the cat that lives in a nursing home and can predict death. Oscar is that feline’s name and he does have an uncanny ability to guess when a patient is about to die: so far he has correctly predicted 50 deaths. His pattern is this: when he senses a patient’s imminent departure he stays with them, lying on their bed to keep them company, until they pass away. However, Dr. David Dosa, the man responsible for “revealing” Oscar’s abilities didn’t mean to make the cat out to be a furry grim reaper when he wrote about him in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007. In his new book, "Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat", Dr. Dosa sheds Oscar in a more positive light.
Oscar’s story has a humble beginning: he was adopted from an animal rescue shelter to work as a therapy pet at the Steer House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, RI, which cares for patients with severe dementia or other serious and terminal illnesses. When Oscar was about six months old, the hospital staff noticed that he would sleep with patients that were about to die. While neither Dosa nor the hospital staff knows for sure why Oscar can “predict” death, some have speculated that humans give off specific pheromones when they are about to die—ones that Oscar can smell, but we can’t.
Despite the speculations, Dosa recently stated that he wrote the book to focus on dealing with terminal illness, not to focus on why Oscar can predict death. Oscar has played a pivotal role in many patients’ last moments. In fact, Oscar has even been thanked by families in obituaries for providing comfort in the last moments of life. Oscar’s life is pretty much the same though: while he is somewhat friendlier, the fame hasn’t changed him very much. Instead, Dosa says that Oscar spends much of his time staring out a window.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.