Sleight of Hand

An ex-con cons his way into getting a new limb

It's not exactly standard medical practice to call up a patient's rap sheet before prepping him for surgery, so you can hardly blame the doctors. Besides, a criminal past is no reason to deny someone medical treatment--even a treatment that is purely experimental and has nothing to do with saving lives.

Still, surgeons who perform radical, headline-grabbing operations know the value of good publicity. So it was something of a shock to an international team poised to perform the world's first successful hand transplant to discover that they had chosen a man with a record as long, so to speak, as...

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