In something of an embarrassing U-turn, the Scottish doctors who originally diagnosed Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi with terminal cancer have revised their prognosis, and now believe he will "probably live forever".
Suspicions that Megrahi might not be about to die on schedule were raised recently after the strapping ex-terrorist announced that he had just started reading all the Harry Potter books, and was very much looking forward to finding out whether Snape was really a baddie at the end of the seventh novel. Megrahi has also been observed starting the construction of an enormous matchstick model of the Taj Mahal, and is said to have recently planted a hedge.
"We're not ashamed to say that we got it wrong," said Dr Brian Fumble, head of the team of crack diagnostic surgeons which examined Megrahi. "These things happen all the time. Only last week I assured a patient that he would live for a thousand years, five minutes later his gangrene killed him - it's really a lottery. This Megrahi chap - clearly going to live forever. He'll probably outlive the universe, we think, and become a timeless entity floating in the black void where all matter used to be. It's a good thing he'll have the Harry Potter books to finish."
Committed Christian David Cameron spoke this morning of his frustration that Mr Megrahi was taking so long to die. "It's awkward - it feels a bit tactless to keep asking 'haven't you died yet?' every five minutes, and it's a bit mean to wish ill of someone, but really, what a pain in the arse. Why doesn't he just die, for God's sake? Come on, it's not that bloody hard, he's got cancer - what is he, immortal? I'll bloody kill him myself in a minute."
Dr Fumble's medical team do not believe their integrity has been in any way compromised by this unfortunate climbdown. "On the contrary," he insisted, "We're still doing a lot of work for the Ministry of Justice. We examined Raoul Moat this morning, and we've given him absolutely no more than six months to live. Tops, if he eats well."
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