The 78-year-old lawyer is moved back into intensive care
Credit: Lawrence Jackson/AP

The 78-year-old lawyer who was accidentally shot by Vice President Dick Cheney over the weekend suffered a mild heart attack after one of the bird shots migrated to his heart, doctors announced Tuesday.

Harry Whittington suffered an “asymptomatic heart attack,” said Peter Banko, the administrator of Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. Whittington underwent a successful catheterization to determine the extent of the damage and was moved back into the intensive care unit after undergoing the procedure, which showed that one BB-size pellet had entered his heart.

“Some of the bird shot appears to have moved and lodged into part of his heart in what we would say is a minor heart attack,” Banko said during a news conference.

While at a ranch in Texas over the weekend, Cheney, 65, accidentally sprayed birdshot into Whittington while trying to hit a flock of quail. Whittington was “bruised more than bloodied,” the Houston Chronicle reported.

“This all happened pretty quickly,” Katharine Armstrong, whose family owns the 50,000-acre Armstrong Ranch, told The New York Times. Whittington, she said, “did not announce – which would be protocol – ‘Hey, it’s me, I’m coming up,’ ” she said. “So when a bird flushed and the vice president swung in to shoot it, Harry was where the bird was.”

On Monday it was also revealed that Cheney violated the law over the weekend by failing to have a proper $7 upland game-bird stamp on his hunting permit. He is being issued a “warning citation” that carries no fines or penalties, the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife announced.

In a statement issued late Monday, Cheney’s office blamed the parks and wildlife department for failing to include the stamp in the $140 cost of permits for Cheney’s hunting trip, but added that “the vice president has sent a $7 check” to the agency, the Los Angeles Times reports.