Christmas presents stolen during baby’s birth

Here's a charming story to tell around the Christmas tree.

While an Ohio couple was at a Columbus hospital for the birth of their son, thieves broke into their home, wrecked it and stole their Christmas presents.

Tom Sheehan, who until last summer was a member of the military force stationed in Iraq, and his fiancee, Tonya Verduga, knew their new baby might come into the world around Christmastime.

So the couple had purchased all the presents for Tonya's two sons, aged eight and 10. But while they were at the hospital for the birth of their baby, Jonathan, thieves broke in and took all the presents, as well as a television, a computer and some jewelry.

Sheehan, who served three tours of duty in Iraq, told reporters earlier this month, "Take a TV, take something...that's fine, that can be replaced. But a child's Christmas spirit? How do you just break that without any regard?"

The first woman doctor, U.S. division

As the first woman doctor in the United States, Elizabeth Blackwell had the dubious honor of showing the way for women to qualify for and enter a profession in which, at the time, they were pointedly unwelcome.

Blackwell endured repeated rejections on her way into medical school, where she was shunned by the male students and shut out of clinical opportunities by the teachers. After she finished medical school, when no one would hire her, she founded her own hospital and made her own opportunities.

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell

Blackwell was born in England; her father was a wealthy Quaker and sugar refiner whose business eventually fell on hard times. The large family moved to the United States when Elizabeth was 11 and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Blackwell''s father died when she was a teenager and the family opened a small private school, where Elizabeth began teaching.

When she decided she wanted to be a doctor, she was turned away from 29 medical schools before being accepted by the Geneva Medical School in Geneva, N.Y. In spite of the hostility she encountered there, she graduated at the top of her class in 1849, with plans to become a surgeon.

Blackwell traveled to Paris to take a course in midwifery, where she contracted an infection that cost her the sight in one eye. That put an end to her hopes of becoming a surgeon. Back in the United States, Blackwell found she couldn't get work in a hospital, so she went into private practice.

In 1853, along with her sister Emily, and Marie Zakrzewska, two other early female doctors, Blackwell founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, now New York Downtown Hospital. During the Civil War, Blackwell trained nurses to treat soldiers injured on the battlefield.

The Blackwell sisters also founded the Women's Medical College of New York in 1869, but within a few years, Elizabeth went back to England. She was a professor of gynecology at the London School of Medicine for Women for the rest of her working life. Blackwell died at the age of 89, in 1910.

First baby of 2010?

Who was the first baby to greet the world in 2010? Little Gulrose Abdullah, born to Zahra and Mehboob Abdullah right at midnight on Friday at the MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, is certainly a contender for the U.S. title.

In Toronto, Canada, Eva Violante was born to mom Christiane Hachey and dad Alexis Violante at 12:00:01 a.m. at St. Michael's Hospital -- that's one second after midnight.

And let's face it, many more babies were born in the early minutes of the first day of the new decade, perhaps somewhere where no one was paying much attention to the time. Welcome to the world, little ones! May it always be kind to you.