Eliza Jane's Story on ABC "Primetime"
|December 13, 2005||Does a Bioethicist Have an Ethical Duty to Respond?||Christine Maggiore|
Bioethics is the study of the moral and ethical choices faced in medical research and in the treatment of patients. Dr. Nancy Dubler is the Director of the Division of Bioethics at the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York. As part of the ABC Prime Time segment on Christine Maggiore that aired December 8, 2005, Dubler made the following statements regarding Maggiores decision to not subject her children to HIV testing:
|December 9, 2005||HIV Skeptic Takes Her Case to TV Audience||Daniel Costello & Charles Ornstein Los Angeles Times|
|The LA Times ran a story which largely echoed the ABC Primetime TV show. They continued attempts to discredit Al-Bayati, by noting that he does not have an MD (but admitting that he does have a doctorate (PhD) in comparative pathology from UC Davis. They used the pejorative term denialist to describe the fact that he has questioned the connection between HIV and AIDS. If science is about questioning current beliefs to develop new and better theories, why is a bad thing to question an established dogma? |
The article clearly favors the LA County Coroner James Ribe, quoting him saying The findings are clear-cut, Im afraid, and the findings are unequivocal The body shows what it shows. The organs show what they show. That hasnt changed before, since or ever. They did not appear to have challenged him to provide additional evidence. They asked an establishment AIDS doctor, Dr. Harry Vinters, chief of neuropathology at UCLA Medical Center, for his opinion and, not surprisingly, he supported the coroner saying that the diagnosis is really quite straightforward. Its not a subtle or tricky diagnosis. They did not provide any evidence for readers beyond this statement of opinion.
|December 9, 2005||Letter to ABCNews.com||Elizabeth Ely, New York|
|I saw the ABC Primetime feature last night on Christine Maggiore and the unfortunate death of her daughter, Eliza Jane, and I thank you for your mostly balanced coverage. However, I thought I would correct one point that you seem to have made throughout this video. As a fellow journalist, I hope you will take this factual error seriously and correct the record on the Primetime show. |
Christine Maggiore is not, and does not present herself as, HIV-positive. She tested positive for HIV in 1992 but has received mixed test results since then. According to her published testimonial, available on her groups Web site and at the front of her book, some subsequent HIV tests revealed negative and inconclusive results. This is the very reversal that led her, a mainstream AIDS activist at the time, to question the HIV-positive diagnosis itself and the accuracy of the test.
To describe Christine Maggiore as HIV-positive, without qualification and background, is therefore not correct.
If, however, Christine is HIV-positive, her healthy survival for 13 years while taking none of the recommended drugs for this condition is certainly worthy of investigation.
Christine found that her questions about her mysterious sero-conversion were not welcome at the organization for which she was a spokesperson, so she looked elsewhere for research. What she came up with led to the research in her book. She did not, as you imply, go from HIV-positive to radical with barely a step in between. To leave this out is to distort her work and to leave the public dangerously in the dark as to a public health matter, namely, the questionable accuracy of the HIV test.
I was, however, unaware that the pathologist hired by Christine and her husband to review EJs cause of death was on the board of her organization. Please confirm that this is correct and verified by ABC. Please also reveal the affiliations of ABCs independent pathologist, as this is just as relevant to the credibility of those results. Is this pathologist saying specifically that EJ showed signs of pneumonia?
I would say that the consequences to the Maggiore-Scovill family are severe if this story about them is allowed to stand without rebuttal. Not only have Christine and her husband, Robin Scovill, been exposed to a police investigation; they have also been found guilty without trial on the front page of the Los Angeles Times. Christine has tried unsuccessfully (as far as I know so far) to correct the record at the Times, or even to publish a letter to the editor.
Response from Christine Maggiore: Thanks for writing in to ABC. I appreciate your support and your interest in following this story.
As I stated on a radio interview on KPFK recently, yes, Al-Bayati is on the Alive & Well advisory board. To me that means I can count on him to give an honest and factual accounting from an expert perspective. As a parent, I want to know why my child died, so I turned to someone I could trust to go strictly by the facts. I was not and am not seeking exoneration or to appear right. I am seeking the truth. As any attorney in criminal law will tell you, there are great numbers of pathologists and other experts for hire who, if you go through enough of them, will tell you what you need or want to hear. We wanted one who would tell us the truth.
We had no idea what happened to our daughter when we sent the autopsy report to Al-Bayati for review and had no idea what Al-Bayatis conclusion would be. It didnt even occur to me that I should not allow an expert I know and trust to analyze the case because it might appear inappropriate on a TV show. We wanted to know why our daughter died and Al-Bayati is uniquely qualified in his field.
From what I understand, there are very few dual board certified toxicologists with a degree in comparative human pathology with the experience he has in unexplained death in children and fewer still with the record he has for taking unpopular positions when the facts lead him there. Several pathologists who concluded the same as Al-Bayati would not put their name on a report or speak for the record. They wanted no part of the controversy.
Despite the risks of being associated with me, Al-Bayatis report has been accepted for publication in a medical journal with 11 medical doctors and a dozen scientists on their review board who dont know me, and I have no idea who they are either.
Please note we have not paid Al-Bayati for his autopsy analysis and his board position with Alive & Well always has been that of an unpaid advisor.
Ultimately, the facts are the facts and the facts are what must stand up to challenge.
|December 9, 2005||Submitted Comment||Bettie Malofie, Manitoba, Canada|
|I saw ABC Primetime a couple of hours ago. Christine did a good job. How very difficult this must have been. Jay Gordon seemed to me to be trying to cover his ass AIDS indeed. There was not enough information given on the contents of Dr. Al-Bayati's report, but I guess to go any farther than allergy to Amoxicillin would tax John Sixpacks brain.|
|December 9, 2005||Submitted Comment||Joel Smith, Asheville, North Carolina|
|I am very disappointed with the slant of the ABC Primetime story. They seem to dismiss Dr. Mohammed Al-Bayati as only a board member and author of a book. They also cited an independent medical examiner who agrees with the coroner without giving a name. Maybe Im missing something but, to me, it is obvious to which side ABC slants in this issue.|
|December 8, 2005||A writer whose life was turned around by Christine Maggiore recollects this, and comments on the ABC Primetime television show||Ken Murray, Orlando, Florida|
|I met Christine Maggiore approximately 2 years ago following the announcement from a girl I had been dating that she tested positive for HIV. Prior to this, I was what I have since described as a self-proclaimed AIDS Nazi I implored my girlfriend to ignore the wisdom of her doctor to aggressively treat this condition with anti-AIDS drugs. She, to this day, credits the fact that Christines book ultimately saved her life. My ex-girlfriend has since consistently tested negative to HIV ever since According to the woman at the end of the ABC segment, those mothers who test positive for HIV and whose children who subsequently test positive should be either forced to consume dangerous chemicals (failed cancer chemotherapy drugs) or separated from their parents and then fed those dangerous toxins as wards of the state. Wake up America ...|
|December 8, 2005||Did HIV-Positive Mom's Beliefs Put Her Children at Risk?||ABC Primetime|
|ABC Primetime aired their show, including interviews with Eliza Jane's parents, Dr. Al-Bayati and James Ribe on December 8th, significantly raising interest in this story. Unfortunately the TV program was slanted towards the coroner's side of the story, perhaps in an attempt to make it seem much more black and white than it really is, or perhaps because they felt that they had to give more weight to the LA coroner's office, based on its perceived status in the community.|