Catherine Herridge and Baby Peter Update

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OK, since I try and give you some behind the scenes, here is the plan for today: In just a few hours I get to go to Catherine Herridge's home here in Washington, D.C., and see her family and baby Peter. I am excited about this. This is the first time I have seen Peter since his life-saving surgery (getting part of his mother's liver transplanted into his tiny body) and I am anxious to see him. I have seen pictures of Peter since his surgery (he is now pink and seems to have more than one chin, which is far different than the yellow, very thin pre-transplant baby that I saw in the hospital bed in Pittsburgh!)

Of course I am going to bring you along on this trip (the cameras are coming with us) since you have followed their story so closely since early June when Catherine and Peter were both admitted to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Our plan is to show you our visit with Peter and his family on Thursday night's show. You will see Peter, plus you see how one family's life went from a sense of despair to hope and now to great confidence for a full life for Peter.

I know the medical staff at the University of Pittsburgh does this life-saving surgery often, but to me it is extraordinary. Peter would be dead by now — he was that sick with no hope of getting better, but for this surgery and part of his mother's liver. I know from often speaking to Catherine that the University of Pittsburgh Hospital staff (from top to bottom) is truly remarkable: They really care about their patients and save lives every day. It must be enormously fulfilling to walk out of work each day knowing you have made such a difference in the lives of others and, in most instances, actually saved lives.

Here is a "sighting": I ran into former ABC "Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel and his wife, Grace Anne, in the airport the other day. Grace Anne went to law school with me. I run into them in Washington about every 5 to 10 years. The first time I met Ted was when Grace Anne brought him to a pizza joint after class one night to join us. At the time I thought Ted old (36?). He had been an ABC correspondent and most recently assigned to the State Department (I think it was the State Department.) Ted was a star to us since People magazine wrote an article about him (that was how we defined "star" at the time!) The story line behind the article was his decision to take time off from his career at ABC to help raise their children so that Grace Anne could go to law school. Grace Anne was going back to school after starting the family and supporting Ted's career.

What I always think about when I see both Ted and Grace Anne is that night in the pizza joint when I first met my classmate's husband. Ted told all of us at the table (we were all about 22 years old) how much he loved his wife and how she was the reason for his success. He told us about his experience as a war correspondent covering the war in Vietnam (which added many years to my impression of his then old age) and how he never could have done it without Grace Anne backing him up. He could not stop talking about how important Grace Anne was/is to him and to his career. This memory has stuck with me for more than 25 years. I guess he felt it was her turn. As an aside, talking to them in the airport two days ago, I got the idea that not much has changed. It struck me how they still looked like they were having fun together.

Here is something else about the way we do the show — you might think this sounds a bit sick or morbid. Each night I take to the set my research on three very well-known world leaders who I suspect are near death. Each is very sick. Why bring to the set each night? In case they die during the hour, I want to be prepared for you. It may sound rather twisted, but each has a rich history, whether good or bad, and I want to make sure that if the inevitable happens during our hour, we are ready. (And yes, all cable news organizations have already prepared video obituaries of hundreds of people... many who are very healthy! How else do you think we can move so quickly when we learn of famous peoples' deaths? Incidentally, when I told Ozzy Osbourne about this recently he asked if we have one done for him yet. I said I did not know, he then asked me to make sure it is a good picture and laughed. That's Ozzy!)

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1 — Don gets the prize for the best dog name of the day. Read on:

One of the first things I did after moving to Richmond from NJ was buy a dog. Named him "ROLEX." When people ask why? My watch dog.
Don Graf

E-mail No. 2 — This next e-mail refers to the interview we did Monday night with the wife of one of the Israeli soldiers kidnapped on July 12 by Hezbollah and what sparked the war:

It seems that the captured soldier's wife (sorry but the family name escapes me) is more concerned about obtaining pity for herself than for her husband. Did she ever say she is worried about what the enemy is doing to him? She also made a quick interjection to state that she is suffering also.
Patrick Martin

E-mail No. 3

Hi Greta,
I wrote you several weeks ago about my theory regarding the murder. I felt it just might be simply that, a MURDER! Now she has been counseled by her attorneys and all of a sudden, she's an emotionally abused wife.
He's not here any longer to defend these accusations and yet I remember she originally stated she was wrong and had no excuse for her actions... now she is an abused wife. She squandered their money, he was (naturally) upset and argued about it and now he's dead. She said she was surprised at the fact that the shotgun didn't make as much noise as she thought it would. The fact that she "thought" it would make a huge noise sounds to me like she had prior, organized thoughts about shooting it. Also, if it weren't as loud as she had "thought," maybe that is because it was pressed right up against his back and his body muffled the sound!
The fact that she is out on bond sickens me... if the roles were reversed do you think the preacher would be out?

E-mail No. 4

I've always found those complaints about your apparel offensive and wondered why you even posted them. But then it dawned on me that in posting those insults — and that rudeness — you are exposing the perps' true ignorance! I get fed up with politics during the day and generally watch "On the Record" to escape the subject. But when Greta features politics on her show — I generally don't watch it, because I don't agree with "On the Record's" political philosophy and "On the Record" doesn't agree politically with me. I may get irritated and fire a few political salvos across Greta's bow at times, but I "NEVER" initiate personal attacks like those leveled against her personal appearance — or wardrobe selections.
Disabled Vietnam Vet.

ANSWER: I like a good debate on the issues. Sometimes in a good debate I am even persuaded that my original view is wrong or should be adjusted in some way — sometimes I become more convinced of my original viewpoint.

E-mail No. 5

I have only one question, how many more Jews have to die before the rest of the world gets its fill? I was listening to the Iranian and Syrian leaders announce their great victory and have never been so disappointed in the Western World and the United Nations. Why does the United Nations even exist, when most of the resolutions they pass, dealing with conflict are never implemented. I think it is fine to used standard rules of engagement when you are fighting a legitimate army, but when fighting a terrorist organization you fight by their rules, if the terrorists indiscriminately fire rockets on a civilian population, you carpet bomb their largest city (to the ground, no warning!) I was sickened when I heard it said Israel was not using reasonable force. When has there ever been a war, where a country that is attacked and uses extreme restraint and then the attackers whine like children because the defender is doing too much damage. I also fine it amazing that the government of Lebanon now states they are going to send its pathetic army down to protect its border, why didn't they do that when the resolution was passed. I am afraid I will not shed a tear for any civilian of Lebanon; they deserve what they got and should have gotten a lot worse. If the government of Lebanon was so concerned about its civilians why didn't they send their army down south and help their people to the north, gutless.
John Buetzberger
Oregon, WI

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