Tuesday, December 30, 2008


"Why did she remain basically healthy from 1992 until just before her death?" asked David Crowe,

Good question David. Perhaps because 16 years isn't too far outside the normal progression for untreated HIV infection. At 10-15 years (depending on the study) she might have been classified as a long-term non-progressor (about 10% of people with HIV do), but then only if her CD4 counts were normal, and we have no idea about that. In one long-term followup of so-called LTNP's at 10 years, by 18 years of being HIV+ 86% of those LTNP's had progressed to AIDS. The strongest individual predictor of progression rates has consisently been viral load and/or anti-HIV killer T cell responses, so even reaching one breakpoint (10 year survival) doesn't easily predict the chances of reaching another (15 year survival).

This is all hand-waving though - the only facts are that someone lost a mother and someone lost a wife, and that's terrible. My personal thoughts are that this is a tragedy that might well have been preventable. She lays the blame herself squarely at the feet of one man:

"All that changed in 1994, she said, when she spoke to UC Berkeley biology professor Peter Duesberg..."
And really, that's all I have to say on the matter. For what it's worth, I really, really hope that Robin and Charlie can find some kind of peace after this second loss. What a mess.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Message for the lawyer

For the LA lawyer who tried to call me - I managed to accidentally delete voicemail with your number, and since there's more than a fair chance that someone connected to the EJ story might read this, I'm posting this up here.

I can however give an easy answer to your question - basically when I wrote the EJ commentary I was a resident physician, and according to NYS law:

"If you did not graduate from a NYS-registered or LCME- or AOA-accredited medical program, you must complete at least three years of postgraduate hospital training in an accredited residency program approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the American Osteopathic Association, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada."

Since I graduated from Cambridge, England I couldn't get a NYS license until after residency - which I am now done with and my application is in the works :o)

The point though is irrelevant. In my commentary I am merely an observer and bringer of facts - the facts are irrefutable. I offer my opinion in only a few places, mostly in regards to speculation about a kidney disease that is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain the story, and in hindsight most of the findings regarding EJ's fluid in various organs can be explained by the resuscitation she recieved.

Al-Bayati on the other hand offers nothing but personal opinion and speculation, laced with a heavy dose of over-interpreted, cherry-picked literature to suit his pre-conceived idea that EJ must have died from something other than what the LA coroner found.

A side-by-side comparison of the coroner's report and Al-Bayati's report will reveal just how often Al-Bayati misrepresents it - and that's all I really did.