"AIDS Treatment News" online * New Issue #302 (searchable/indexed)

johnburgin at worldnet.att.net johnburgin at worldnet.att.net
Tue Oct 27 18:10:45 EST 1998

On 27 Oct 1998 22:37:35 GMT, carlton at walleye.ccbr.umn.edu (Carlton
Hogan) wrote:

>In article <3636479a.84714787 at netnews.worldnet.att.net>,
> <johnburgin at worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>>On 27 Oct 1998 18:04:44 GMT, carlton at walleye.ccbr.umn.edu (Carlton
>>Hogan) wrote:
>>>In article <363541e0.17702413 at netnews.worldnet.att.net>,
>>> <johnburgin at worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>>>>Standard errors are all that you can produce when you have a faulty
>>>>premise.  Still don't know what spontaneous generation is?  
>>>I think no more need be said about this clown's scientific acumen.
>>>John- look up standard error in any biostatistic or epidemiology test.
>>>I think you will be amazed at how different the meaning is from what 
>>>you imagine.
>>Call me anything you prefer, the fact remains that standardized error
>>is immaterial when the basic premise for the test is flawed.
Dear Carlton,  please tell me what you think of the following:jb
Column #11 The Valerie Emerson Case and AIDS Among Health Care Workers

Dear Christine, 

I've been following the case of Valerie Emerson, the woman in Maine
who risked losing custody of her son for not giving him AIDS drugs.
Did HEAL have anything to do with her stance? What do you think about
her case? 

Lewis Rose, 
Echo Park

Dear Lewis, 

The case of Valerie Emerson has been featured in national news
programs like "Good Morning America", in magazines like People
(October 5), and has provided a hot topic for talk-radio shows around
the country. I became aware of the case about three weeks before her
trial and only after receiving a flood of concerned calls and e mails.

I learned that Emerson, a single mother on public assistance, had been
reported to the Department of Human Services by an AIDS specialist for
"serious parental neglect" because she declined to enroll her four
year-old son Nikolas in a pediatric study of Protease Inhibitors.
Since HEAL Los Angeles ended up helping Valerie with her case, I am
able to share some details not found in most news reports. 

Two of Valerie's four children tested HIV positive in 1995 after
Valerie, then three months pregnant, showed up positive on a mandatory
prenatal HIV screening. Valerie followed doctor's orders to begin
treatment with AZT but says that within just a few days she began
experiencing vomiting, hair loss, intense leg pain and loss of
appetite–symptoms which doctors attributed to her pregnancy. When
brain cysts were found developing on her unborn child, Valerie decided
to stop the AZT. She says all her symptoms disappeared within two
weeks along with the cysts on her fetus, and this child was born
testing HIV negative. 

Valerie's daughter Tia died after less than a year on AIDS treatment
drugs. Prior to the therapies, Tia had not been seriously ill. Tia did
suffer from acute asthma which made her susceptible to pneumonia, but
before Tia's HIV positive diagnosis, Valerie says doctor's felt there
was nothing abnormal about her daughter's health. After testing
positive at age three, however, doctors claimed that Tia's pneumonia
was full blown AIDS and put her on AZT and a series of various

Valerie says that the pneumonia's became more frequent and lasted
longer once Tia began with the treatment drugs, and after a few months
Tia stopped growing and was unable to walk. By her ninth month on AZT
and antibiotics, her daughter had become so emaciated Valerie says
that she had to use pillows to keep her bones from touching, and that
she was in so much pain she wouldn't allow anyone touch her. Tia died
just a few days before her fourth birthday. Valerie felt certain that
it was the AIDS drugs and not AIDS that took the life of her little
girl, and so decided against further treatment for her son Nikolas. 

HEAL provided Valerie's attorney with references for expert testimony
that would substantiate her decision. HEAL LA advisory board members
Dr. David Ransick and Dr. Roberto Giraldo flew to Maine at their own
expense to testify on Valerie's behalf. Rasnick, a chemist, holds nine
patents on protease inhibitors, and Giraldo is an MD and infectious
disease specialist. Valerie says that their testimony was the deciding
factor in her September 14 court victory over the charges of parental

Judge Douglas Clapp heard arguments on both sides of the HIV
hypothesis. The state's attorney actually prompted Rasnick and Giraldo
to articulate their assertion that HIV does not cause AIDS, perhaps
trying to make them appear "reckless" or "kooky". In his decision,
Clapp wrote that "experts may be right in their advice" for "more
aggressive and powerful therapy" for Nikolas, but that "current
statistics can be interpreted that they may also just as likely be
wrong." He noted that Valerie "has discontinued her own therapy with
no apparent present ill effects" and that "she has observed an outward
improvement in her sick son's condition with a discontinuance of drug

I think the case of Valerie Emerson is frightening, inspiring–and not
over. A volunteer guardian appointed by the court to recommend on
behalf of Nikolas filed an appeal ten days after the judge's decision.
The case will now be heard before the Maine Supreme Court on November
3. If Valerie wins again, this will set a precedent against the notion
of "mandatory AIDS treatments". If she loses, we all come closer to
losing our own right to chose. 

Dear Christine,

There was a time when I worried that my daughter, a registered nurse,
would come down with AIDS as a result of her work but I don't see much
mention of this. What are the actual numbers of AIDS cases among
doctors and nurses? 

Dolores, by e mail 

Dear Dolores, 

Despite the one million work-related needle stick injuries that occur
each year, US health care professionals who claim occupationally
acquired AIDS total a mere 25 (CDC HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report Year
End 1997). 

Note that these 25 people allege occupational exposure as their only
risk, and that 25 is the total for the entire period known as the AIDS
epidemic (which, depending on who's counting, is about 20 years long).
Although 75% of US health care workers are female, 23 of these 25
occupational AIDS cases are among men. (The total for all US AIDS
cases follows this same pattern for gender preference with about 90%
of AIDS cases occurring among males). 

Also interesting is the fact that the one million annual needle stick
accidents result in at least 1,000 occupationally acquired cases of
hepatitis each year. If AIDS were truly a contagious condition, we
should see great numbers of people on the front lines–doctors, nurses
and researchers–coming down with AIDS as a result of work-related
exposure to HIV. 

>What test is that? We were talking about the standard error on HEALs
>claim of 1000 healthy HIV+. No test in sight. Try and stay awake, dear.
>>  No,
>>you're wrong, there's nothing that you guys could say that wouldn't
>>strecth my imagination.  I believe that you fellas have pretty much
>>left yourselves so openminded that your brains have fallen out and you
>>don't know it.  Faulty premise, HIV doesn't cause AIDS.  No scientific
>>paper has proven it.  You can't use the "prove it doesn't" routine,
>>you know better. Show us all the paper, the magic, peer reviewed paper
>>concluding that HIV causes AIDS 
>All you layperson dissidents harp on and on about this magic paper
>that "proves" HIV causes AIDS. Where is the paper that proves influenza
>causes the flu? Or that T.Pallidum causes syphilis? Or that M. tuberculosis
>causes TB? The magical, all-in-one paper you demand would need
>to incorporate molecular biology, virology, epidemiology etc. Such
>a comprehensive paper has never been written (except in review articles).
>This is because epidemiologists talk about what they know:
>epidemiology. Virologists publish on virology - it's their fielf. 
>This magical paper you demand is not standard scientific practice,
>and does not exist for most diseases where even you would concede
>a causative micoorganism has been identified.

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