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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Eliza Jane

I mentioned in responses to a prior post that I wasn't wanting to weigh in on the debate and controversy surrounding the sad death of Eliza Jane, daughter of the well known dissident Christine Maggiore. At that time nothing was known, nothing had been said other than hearsay, and frankly it was entirely inappropriate to do anything.

Then the pathologist's report came out, blaming her death on an AIDS-related pneumonia ( I assumed PCP or CMV pneumonitis or somesuch for that kind of statement to be made ). I still held my tongue, as without knowing the facts there was still nothing to be said.

But recently dissident Dr Al-Bayati has put in his four-penn'orth, presumably at the urging (hiring?) of Christine to counter the autopsy report. His report is terribly, terribly flawed.

In response I wrote my own report. I have nothing to say about Christine other than to extend my sincere condolences (as I have done already). This has nothing to do even, really, with EJ as a case. As you'll see, my report mostly deals with the evidence Al-Bayati uses in his arguments and how flawed they are.

My report has been very kindly hosted here by Trent McBride.

There are other rebuttals out there as it happens, some from other scientists or physicians, some from people who simply have a head on their shoulders and some common sense. I don't claim to have written anything special. But I simply couldn't stand by and let the misinformation of Al-Bayati go without responding.

3 Comments:

Blogger drpsduke said...

It is my opinion that Christine and other HIV-infected denialists are mostly just pawns in this game. The real criminals are people who claim to have "scientific evidence" that HIV does not exist, or that AIDS can't possibly be caused by HIV. These people tell clever lies, or half-truths that ammount to lies, that sound pretty confincing to people who have no training in the relevant areas of science: epidemiology, molecular genetics, virology, etc.

Christine herself has really played into the same game though, in publising her book "What if Everything You Knew About AIDS was Wrong". For example she claims that pregnancy causes a false-positive HIV test, when if fact pregnant women have only a very slightly higher false-positive rate on ELISA tests, and no higher fasle-positive rate on the ELISA plus western blot combination, than the general population.

I am also rather disturbed by the name of her new site "Justice for EJ", when in fact the issue now is not about EJ who is dead and gone, but about Christine and Robin who will either be forced to accept some responsibity for EJ's death, or not.

10:50 AM  
Blogger wendy said...

I was a neighbor of this family during this time, I knew them, I would say we were acquaintances -we were always busy with life--we have a daughter as well. I saw EJ about a week to 10 days before she died, she was with her dad. They would stop by our house a lot, I was in the front yard and they stoppd to talk to me. I think EJ liked coming to our house from what her parents said. EJ looked as she always did-She was always slightly frail since we had met them, she was tiny in stature but had an inner strength in her personality that always surprised me. She seemed to know what she wanted and would ask for it. She borrowed our santa decoration once during the holidays, she told me she wanted to take it, a few months later I came home it was sitting on our porch chair. Her father Robin is one of the most gentle men I have ever met. To see him with her was a wonder, I never heard him talk impatiently to her, she would come over for a visit and suddenly be ready to leave. That last day I saw her I gave her some popcorn. She was eating it and made a small coughing sound, I thought she had choked on the popcorn, her dad said she was okay she had a cold. She did not appear sickly. I have been around many sick kids with having a child of my own who is now 13 and from EJ's appearance I would have not known there was anything going on if her dad had not said that. From what I heard that is why they had the medicine prescribed for a sore throat or something. She ate quite a bit of popcorn-I went in to get more and they went on there way. I was shocked to come home about 10 days later to my husband telling me that EJ had passed away. I was in shock. It made no sense from seeing her that it was AIDS and this is why....

A year previous I had gone through one of the most heart wrenching ordeals of seeing my best friend of 20 years slowly --very slowly die of AIDS. He had kaposi sarcoma marks that he had been hiding for one year-he told us when he started getting outright sick that he had been keeping it form everyone. It was triggered when he went into a building that was freshly painted, he threw up and after that was never the same. He refused to go to the hospital and was at home for 3 weeks ---slowly dying--saying he was just run down--refusing to admit what was really going on. Someone had been taking him to a quack homeopathic in Beverly Hills who did not know what she was doing. (i am for natural healing at times-in the right situation- but this woman was dangerous) Finally I got someone to go to his house against his wishes and carry him to the hospital-he had lost 40 lbs over that time. He was in the hospital in Encino for 3 weeks before he died of Aids complications-double pneumonia and his organs failing. This was a slow process- this did not happen over nite as the EJ situation seemed to do. She looked healthy 10 days before she died. My friend looked like he was dying for 6 weeks, he was slowly wasting away and had been sick one year before but hid it from us. I obviously am not a medical doctor I am just telling you my observation and my mother instinct. It seems that if EJ's organs did do what I had read that it was an allergic reaction to the antibiotic, since they list those very symptoms as the results of an allergic reaction.
I am sorry for this beautiful family and what they have had to endure. The world should be a kinder place to those who suffer. I have seen so many mean and bitter things written about them-I have never spoken until now, but I felt compelled to say what I knew and felt in my heart.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Bennett said...

Hi Wendy

Thanks for your insight. Assuming what you say is true (please excuse me for adding that caveat - it's after bitter experience with AIDS denialists in general...) it jives with the official line still.

Like you, Al-Bayati (the "pathologist" who commented on EJ's death and came up with the allergic reaction theory) is not a doctor either. The signs and symptoms that EJ had are actually not consistent with an allergic reaction, although it makes for a convenient scapegoat. Stating that they are in his report is not the same as them actually being so... There are several places in his report where he is misleading, inaccurate, incomplete, or simply lying (either about basic medicine or about what the LA coroner's report says). I document some of this in my own commentary on his report.

The story is however consistent with pediatric PCP. Kids are strange beings...vulnerable and yet very stoic. It is entirely consistent with EJ having congenital HIV infection and just being lucky in not having got an opportunistic infection yet. She wouldn't have to be all that lucky - 10% of kids present after their third birthday. "Only" half of all kids with HIV get AIDS by their first birthday (which really, really debunks Duesberg's theory that HIV is a harmless, vertically transmitted virus). Over a third of pediatric cases present with pneumocystis, unless they're detected early and put on anti-pneumocystis medication. PCP presents in pretty much the way that EJ did - a relatively non-specific and apparently innocent illness that progresses to a severe, life-threatening pneumonia that can have little in the way of clinical exam findings.

Your description of your friend is, on the other hand, a typical description of an adult with end-stage HIV infection. A very different situation.

Al-Bayati can try to fake out the general public, but unfortunately for him the LA Coroners report was made available online (briefly) which allowed people to compare and contrast the two reports. You can read about the inconsistencies at:

www.aidstruth.org/documents/A_report_on_Eliza_Ver2.pdf

You can also read about pneumocystis at:

http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic1850.htm

The bottom line is that EJ definitely had PCP, and there are very very few reasons why an otherwise apparently healthy young girl should get that. PCP and her subsequent collapse and resuscitation explain the rest of the story. The findings of classic HIV encephalitis explain why she could have got PCP, and there really is no reason to invoke anything else - especially not parvovirus B19 and a nonsensical amoxicillin "reaction", which somehow combines severe allergy and chronic toxicity and yet fails to fit the clinical and laboratory picture of either.

I hope that explains things a little more - not to say that your mothering instincts are wrong, but kids with HIV and PCP in particular don't fit into the conventional model of illness - and this is one reason why we can distinguish AIDS from anything else that goes on! To invoke the allergy idea, one also has to explain the PCP and HIV findings, and Al-Bayati does neither: at least not without making stuff up.

Cheers

Bennett

4:20 PM  

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