Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

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Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.


Henry Bauer, Peter Breggin , Harvey Bialy, Giordano Bruno, Erwin Chargaff, Nicolaus Copernicus, Francis Crick, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw, Freeman Dyson, Peter Duesberg, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, John Fewster, Galileo Galilei, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Edward Jenner, Benjamin Jesty, Michio Kaku, Adrian Kent, Ernst Krebs, Thomas Kuhn, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling, Eric Penrose, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick, Sherwood Rowland, Carl Sagan, Otto Rossler, Fred Singer, Thomas Szasz, Alfred Wegener, Edward O. Wilson, James Watson.

Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

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Role of HIV as refuge for incompetence, foolishness and spite – Christine’s tragedy

Insiders knew that sooner or later the second shoe would drop in what is currently the saddest story in AIDS dissent, and today (Sat Sep 24) it has done so.

A short while ago (mid-May) Christine Maggiore, distinguished as a woman who tested HIV positive but who researched the science for herself and rejected it and its medical prescriptions, lost 3 year old Eliza Jane, the youngest of her two children in quite another way to conventional medicine. The child was treated for an ear infection with amoxicillin, a variant of penicillin with a known risk of severe and even fatal reaction in a small number of chilren, and died within 24 hours.

Needless to say, it could be predicted that once this became widely known those hostile to Maggiore as a mother who refused to accept the conventional wisdom of HIV/AIDS would look for ways to ascribe the death to HIV, and accuse her of being an unfit mother. The facts of the case entirely contradict this suggestion, since HIV has a long list of supposed symptoms but none of them are quick, and certainly not a matter of twenty four hours.

Adding ignorant insult to severe injury in this manner, however, it is not impossible that such an attack might very well start a process which could end in the removal of her remaining child to foster care and medication with injurious HIV/AIDS drugs (contrary to widespread lay belief, the scientific literature shows that these supposed wonder drugs only briefly give the appearance of benefiting the patient; soon they prove debilitating and physically deforming and eventually they destroy the liver and the patient dies).

(We raised this possibility at the time we heard the news but held back the comment for fear of adding to Christine’s burden at such a tragic point in her story, but have replaced the section now at the end of the May 19 post A lay dissenter’s travails and courage – Christine Maggiore) (We reproduce it here for expansion if you wish:


A personal tragedy

The reason we were thinking of Christine Maggiore today (Thurs May 19) is that we have learned that she has suffered the most grievous private tragedy that any parent can suffer in life. She has lost a child, her second born, her sweet natured and gentle three year old daughter Eliza Jane.

Her many friends all over the world were told of this in the following email, in which a friend describes the tragedy and conveys the news which Christine and her husband are too much in a state of shock and despair to convey.

All those interested in the disasters that current attitudes in medicine and particularly in AIDS can visit on even enlightened and courageous people should study this story, for it reveals that Christine’s irretrievable loss might have been, in a disastrous irony, the fault of the same drug based medical culture, and the panic that thrusts people into its arms, that she was fighting in AIDS.

I am deeply saddened to inform you that Eliza Jane, the younger of Christine Maggiore’s two children, died suddenly and unexpectedly of undetermined causes on Sunday (May 15th).

Christine, her husband Robin Scovill, and their son Charlie, are obviously in shock and deep despair, but are buoyed by their personal strength and their network of friends and family. I talked to Christine for a little while on Tuesday and, in between tears, we had the occasional laugh at memories of Eliza Jane’s lovely (but often challenging) personality.

Like most parents, Christine and Robin would do anything for their children, they meant the world to them, and losing one is simply the worst nightmare they could possibly endure. It’s no easier for Charlie, age 7, who has to endure the loss of his loved little sister. In his innocence of modern rules and regulations he wanted to bury her in their backyard garden, expressing his desire to keep her close to him.

Eliza Jane, 3 years old, was sick for several days with a condition that three different pediatricians diagnosed as a simple ear infection. None of them prescribed antibiotics, as most ear infections clear without them. All three pediatricians advised to start natural approaches. The condition did not appear worrisome or threatening. Eliza Jane still had flashes of her normal bouyant and independent personality, sometimes laughing and arguing with Charlie, although much of the time she was unusually restless and uncomfortable.

Eventually a reddened inner ear led Christine and Robin to use antibiotics and some tylenol as prescribed on the afternoon of Saturday, May 14th, by one of the three pediatricians who came to their home to see EJ. This would be the fourth time the problem was diagnosed as an ordinary ear infection, and the fourth time that they were told EJ had no swollen glands, no sore throat, and no congestion in the lungs -potential signs of worse or worsening condition. Some time after this Eliza Jane started to vomit and then suddenly, on Sunday night, went into cardiac and respiratory arrest. Heroic efforts by the ambulance crew and the E.R. trauma team could not revive her.

I am writing to let you all know about this, after checking the details with Christine and Robin. They wanted to write to everyone personally, but are obviously overwhelmed so they asked me to carry the news to you.

If you would like to send a card or letter with your sympathies, please send them c/o “Alive & Well, 11684 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA, 91604, USA”. If you feel so inclined, feel free to make a donation to Alive & Well or to a children’s charity of your choosing.

Eliza Jane will always be in the garden in a corner of our hearts, where the wind often makes the flowers dance.

It is impossible to read this story without your heart going out to a parent whose loss is so sudden and enormous. But if you read this account of the family tragedy more than once, your sympathy for Christine Maggiore may double, if that is possible. For what is clearly implied is very simply, that her child was allergic to the antibiotic given her, and that the reasons why it was administered despite misgivings are rooted in the culture of modern medicine which Maggiore has long fought to change.

It seems clear what happened. Three pediatricians, aware of the dangers of giving three year olds antibiotics, advised her to let the infection run its course, and let it be suppressed in the natural course of events by the immune system of the child. This evidently accorded with the parents’ own educated view that antibiotics were to be avoided if possible as a first line of defense, since adverse reactions are always possible, especially in young children.

Although the infection reddened the inner ear, there was no glandular or other systemic disturbance. One would have expected a natural remedy such as garlic to be applied. But then for some reason, against everyone’s instinct of caution, antibiotics were given in the end, and the systemic reactions which had been entirely absent up to that point appeared, including vomiting, and eventually cardiac arrest, with intervention tragically ineffective.

Of course, we do not know all the details and any outside speculation is without any medical authority. But apparently, in a catastropic irony, under the weight of parental reponsibility Christine Maggiore and her husband panicked on behalf of their treasured charge, and after years of pressure to do the conventional thing in AIDS, made a risky decision to entrust the welfare of their child to a standard tool of modern medicine and its drug infatuated approach. She gave in to what her whole life had been devoted, in her own case, to keeping at bay.

And once allowed to proceed, the establishment and its medication in effect gambled with the life of her child, and lost.

One can only hope that Ms Maggiore’s tragedy is not compounded by the fiendish ignoramuses of AIDS politics, who are likely to twist this failure of conventional medicine into an accusation that somehow links it with her rejection of conventional diagnosis and treatment of her “HIV positive” status.

The plain fact of the matter is that when Christine Maggiore finally gave conventional medicine her trust, it let her down.

This appears now to be happening. Here is the poorly reported Los Angeles Times story, which no one should read without knowing the background.

As we noted in our earlier post A lay dissenter’s travails and courage – Christine Maggiore, Ms Maggiore long ago rejected the mainstream interpretation of her “positive” HIV test, and she became one of the staunchest lay resisters of the mainstream ideology in AIDS/HIV, tirelessly bringing her message to the world that none of the narrative made any sense to her, and that she had discovered that there were reputable scientists and much peer-reviewed scientific literature resoundingly echoing her every doubt and presenting an alternative which made much more sense to her.

Meanwhile she avoided damaging and deadly mainstream AIDS drugs and lived a healthy life, bearing two delightful children with her equally independent husband, Robin Scovill, a film maker.

Then, out of the blue, she recently suffered the loss of one of her children, and all this changed. Her youngest child, Eliza Jane Scovill, went into shock and died within a day of being treated by conventional medicine for an ear infection. The treatment was a dose of amoxicillin, a variant of penicillin which is the standard treatment of ear infection, one of the most common childhood ailments. Apparently the child was unfortunately among the five to ten per cent of children who are liable to have a severe reaction to such medication.

As we noted at the end of our earlier post at the time, which was initially held back after being written for fear of causing further heartbreak for Ms Maggiore at the time of the loss of her child, the outcome of this great loss was all too predictable.

Instead of the obvious cause of the child’s death being acknowledged, the hounds of hell in the form of ignorant government officials, misinformed AIDS pediatricians, busybody social welfare workers, incompetent reporters and even her own pediatricians would likely beset the poor mother by ascribing the death in some way to HIV.

The ultimate threat foreseen in the predicted sequence of events was the possible loss of her other child, Charlie, who would be torn away from his mother’s arms on the grounds that her objection to HIV ideology and avoidance of its prescriptions is endangering and unsound—-when in fact it is backed by a substantial number of scientific papers – peer-reviewed, thus far unrefuted, mainstream scientific review literature.

Now this morning we have just such a turn of events. The Los Angeles Times is reporting precisely such developments and dangers, and recounting them with the usual mainstream media bias towards assuming these reactions are sound.

The reporters, Charles Ornstein and Daniel Costello, do not write or report as if they were familiar with the territory and its fault lines, because they fail to note the obvious cause of death of the child, obvious that is to any attentive practitioner of pediatric medicine, though apparently not to the coroner.

See this link at the Los Angeles Times

A Mother’s Denial, a Daughter’s Death

or expand the story here:


A Mother’s Denial, a Daughter’s Death

By Charles Ornstein and Daniel Costello

Times Staff Writers

September 24, 2005

Christine Maggiore was in prime form, engaging and articulate, when she explained to a Phoenix radio host in late March why she didn’t believe HIV caused AIDS.

The HIV-positive mother of two laid out matter-of-factly why, even while pregnant, she hadn’t taken HIV medications, and why she had never tested her children for the virus.

“Our children have excellent records of health,” Maggiore said on the Air America program when asked about 7-year-old Charlie and 3-year-old Eliza Jane Scovill. “They’ve never had respiratory problems, flus, intractable colds, ear infections, nothing. So, our choices, however radical they may seem, are extremely well-founded.”

Seven weeks later, Eliza Jane was dead.

The cause, according to a Sept. 15 report by the Los Angeles County coroner, was AIDS-related pneumonia.

These days, given advances in HIV care, it’s highly unusual for any young child to die of AIDS. What makes Eliza Jane’s death even more striking is that her mother is a high-profile, charismatic leader in a movement that challenges the basic medical understanding and treatment of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Even now, Maggiore, a 49-year-old former clothing executive from Van Nuys, stands by the views she has espoused on “The Ricki Lake Show” and ABC’s “20/20,” and in Newsweek and Mothering magazines. She and her husband, Robin Scovill, said they have concerns about the coroner’s findings and are sending the report to an outside reviewer.

“I have been brought to my emotional knees, but not in regard to the science of this topic,” said Maggiore, author of an iconoclastic book about AIDS that has sold 50,000 copies. “I am a devastated, broken, grieving mother, but I am not second-guessing or questioning my understanding of the issue.”

One doctor involved with Eliza Jane’s care told The Times he has been second-guessing himself since the day he learned of the little girl’s death.

Dr. Jay Gordon, a Santa Monica pediatrician who had treated Eliza Jane since she was a year old, said he should have demanded that she be tested for human immunodeficiency virus when, 11 days before she died, Maggiore brought her in with an apparent ear infection.

“It’s possible that the whole situation could have been changed if one of the doctors involved – one of the three doctors involved – had intervened,” said Gordon, who himself acknowledges that HIV causes AIDS. “It’s hindsight, Monday-morning quarterbacking, whatever you want to call it. Do I think I’m blameless in this? No, I’m not blameless.”

Mainstream AIDS organizations, medical experts and ethicists, long confounded and distressed by this small but outspoken dissident movement, say Eliza Jane’s death crystallizes their fears. The dissenters’ message, they say, is not just wrong, it’s deadly.

“This was a preventable death,” said Dr. James Oleske, a New Jersey physician who never examined Eliza Jane but has treated hundreds of HIV-positive children. “I can tell you without any doubt that, at the outset of her illness, if she was appropriately evaluated, she would have been appropriately treated. She would not have died.

“You can’t write a more sad and tragic story,” Oleske said.

It is a story not just about Maggiore and her family but about failures among child welfare officials and well-known Los Angeles County doctors.

Among the physicians involved in Eliza Jane’s care was Dr. Paul Fleiss, a popular if sometimes unconventional Los Feliz pediatrician who gained some publicity in the 1990s as the father of the notorious Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss. He was sentenced to three years’ probation for conspiring to shield the profits from his daughter’s call-girl ring from the IRS, among other things.

“I don’t understand it,” Fleiss said of Eliza Jane’s death, “because I’ve never seen her sick or with anything resembling what she supposedly died ofÅ . I don’t believe I could have done anything to change this outcome.”

Fleiss, who said he could be “convinced either way” on whether HIV causes AIDS, has known the family since before Eliza Jane was born. In 2000, the county Department of Children and Family Services investigated Maggiore and Scovill after a tipster complained that Charlie was in danger because he hadn’t been tested for HIV and was breast-fed.

The department found no evidence of neglect, based partly on reassurances from Fleiss, according to an official report reviewed by The Times.

Now, with the death of Eliza Jane, authorities say they are poised to act.

Los Angeles police are investigating the couple for possible child endangerment, said Lt. Dennis Shirey, the officer in charge of the child protection section. DCFS officials say they have opened an investigation to determine whether the parents should be forced to test Charlie, now 8.

Maggiore said that she has spoken with police and expects to meet with the child welfare agency early next week. Scovill would not comment in detail.

Before Eliza Jane’s death, Maggiore said she had tested neither of her children. Since then, in anticipation of the visit by child welfare officials, she has had Charlie tested three times, and he was negative each time, she said.

“Would I redo anything based on what happened?” she asked rhetorically during an interview this week. “I don’t think I would. I think I acted with the best information and the best of intentions with all my heart.”

‘Doing a Good Thing’

Maggiore said she once bought the standard line.

HIV would evolve into AIDS. And AIDS, she firmly believed, would kill her.

For months after her condition was diagnosed in 1992, she was depressed and reclusive. Then she plunged into AIDS volunteer work: at AIDS Project Los Angeles, L.A. Shanti and Women at Risk.

Her background commanded attention. A well-spoken, middle-class woman, she owned her own clothing company, with annual revenue of $15 million. Soon she was being asked to speak about the risks of HIV at local schools and health fairs. “At the time,” said Maggiore, a slight woman who looks years younger than her age, “I felt like I was doing a good thing.”

All that changed two years later, she said, when she spoke to UC Berkeley biology professor Peter Duesberg, whose well-publicized views on AIDS – including that its symptoms can be caused by recreational drug use and malnutrition – place him well outside the scientific mainstream.

Intrigued, Maggiore began scouring the literature about the underlying science of HIV. She does not know how she became HIV-positive, but she came to believe that flu shots, pregnancy and common viral infections could lead to a positive test result. She later detailed those claims in her book, “What If Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong?”

Maggiore started Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives, a nonprofit that challenges “common assumptions” about AIDS. Her group’s website and toll-free hotline cater to expectant HIV-positive mothers who shun AIDS medications, want to breast-feed their children and seek to meet others of like mind. One of her tips: Mothers should share their wishes only with trusted family members and doctors who will support their decision to avoid HIV/AIDS drugs and interventions.

She has stayed healthy, she said, despite a cervical condition three years ago that would qualify her for an AIDS diagnosis. In a 2002 article for Awareness magazine, she facetiously refers to it as “my bout of so-called AIDS,” saying it coincided “perfectly with the orthodox axiom that we get a decade of normal health before our AIDS kicks in.”

During a March interview in her orderly, well-lighted home, Maggiore seemed, if anything, an exceptionally devoted mother. She served homegrown vegetables and fresh pasta to Eliza Jane, listening attentively as the healthy-looking little girl chattered happily about her two imaginary friends. At one point, when Eliza Jane wanted to swipe away a spider, her mother urged respect for the tiny creature. “He is part of our family,” she said.

What set Maggiore apart became clear only when she talked about her views on medicine.

She didn’t vaccinate either child, believing the shots did more harm than good. She rejected AZT and other anti-AIDS medications as toxic. “I see no evidence that compels me that I should have exposed a developing fetus to drugs that would harm them,” she said.

Maggiore hired a midwife and gave birth to her children at home; Charlie was born in an inflatable pool on her living room floor. She wanted to avoid being tested for HIV or pressured to use AZT in a hospital, although technically neither is required by California law.

She breast-fed both children, although research indicates that it increases the risk of transmission by up to 15%.

Scovill apparently shares her beliefs. Last year, he produced and directed a contrarian documentary, “The Other Side of AIDS,” which won a special jury prize at the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival.

Maggiore estimates that 50 HIV-positive women have come around to her point of view. The Times interviewed nine who said she helped them plot medical and legal strategies to avoid being forced to have their children tested.

Lori Crawford, a child welfare worker in Tempe, Ariz., said Maggiore helped her avoid an HIV test in North Carolina when she was pregnant with her daughter three years ago. Crawford said Maggiore informed her that North Carolina didn’t have mandatory HIV testing for pregnant women and suggested she decline the test if health authorities in that state recommended it.

“Christine and her book saved my life,” said Crawford.

A Big Victory

In the 25-year history of AIDS, there have been many advances but few victories. Prevention of infections and deaths among young children is one.

“This is one of the biggest public health and medical successes in the United States,” said Margaret Lampe, a health education specialist with the division of HIV/AIDS prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of children found to have AIDS continues to plummet, even as the overall number of new AIDS cases in the United States remains stuck at more than 40,000 per year.

In 2003, only 59 children under age 13 nationally were found to have AIDS, according to the CDC. That’s down from 952 cases in 1992, officials said.

Health officials attribute the decline to regular testing of pregnant women and the use of antiretroviral drugs, such as AZT, during pregnancy and childbirth.

A 1994 study found that one quarter of pregnant HIV-positive women passed the virus to their babies when they did not take AZT. Subsequent studies found that the risk could be lowered to less than 2% when mothers received prenatal care, took a combination of antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy and labor, and allowed their infants to be given AZT in their first six weeks.

Federal health officials and AIDS experts say that HIV unquestionably causes AIDS, although it can take more than a decade to develop. HIV tests detect antibodies to the virus and are accurate predictors of who is infected, they say.

Dr. Peter Havens, a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, said that contrarian HIV theories promoted on about 400 websites are “bogus baloney.”

“It’s all pseudoscience,” he said. “They choose one paper and deny the existence of 100 others.”

Crumpled Like a Doll

The first hint that Eliza Jane was ill came at the end of April, when she developed a runny nose with yellow mucus, Maggiore told a coroner’s investigator.

On April 30, Maggiore took her daughter to a pediatrician covering for Fleiss. That doctor found the girl had clear lungs, no fever and adequate oxygen levels, the coroner’s report said.

Five days later, Maggiore sought a second opinion from Gordon. In an interview, Gordon said he suspected an ear infection but believed it could be resolved without antibiotics. In a follow-up call, he said, Eliza Jane’s parents told him she was getting better.

Maggiore then asked Denver physician Philip Incao, who was visiting Los Angeles for a lecture, to examine her, the mother told the coroner’s investigator. He found fluid in Eliza Jane’s right eardrum.

On May 14, Incao examined her again and prescribed amoxicillin, Maggiore told the coroner.

Incao is not licensed to practice medicine in California.

The next day, Eliza Jane vomited several times and her mother noticed she was pale. While Maggiore was on the phone with Incao, the little girl stopped breathing and “crumpled like a paper doll,” the mother told the coroner. She died early the next morning, at a Van Nuys hospital.

Fleiss, Gordon and Incao all are known for their unconventional approaches to medicine. Gordon and Incao are staunch opponents of mandatory vaccination of children; Fleiss is a vocal critic of male circumcision. Incao did not return repeated phone calls this week.

Alerted to the case by The Times, several medical experts said that doctors who knew Maggiore’s circumstances – that she was HIV-positive, hadn’t been treated during pregnancy and had breast-fed her children – should have pushed for the child to be tested.

If she refused, they should have referred the matter to authorities.

According to interviews and records, Gordon and Fleiss have long known Maggiore’s HIV status and that she breast-fed her children.

Experts also said that when the girl became ill, any doctor who saw her should have treated her as if she were HIV-positive. That would have meant giving her a stronger antibiotic, such as Bactrim, instead of the relatively low-powered amoxicillin.

“If you look away from something you’re supposed to be looking for, that’s called willful blindness,” said Michael Shapiro, an ethicist and law professor at USC, “and willful blindness is one aspect of determining the negligence.”

In an interview this week, Fleiss said it would have been wrong to force Maggiore to test her daughter. “This is a democracy,” said Fleiss, who has treated the daughter of pop star Madonna.

Gordon said he wishes he had tested Eliza Jane when she was ill in early May, but he doesn’t believe he had sufficient reason to test her earlier.

“When it comes to HIV testing, I think that it’s still legally a gray area,” he said, depending on whether one believes the child’s life is in danger. In Eliza Jane’s case, he said, he did not.

David Thornton, executive director of the Medical Board of California, said his agency probably would investigate to determine whether the doctors erred, for example, in failing to report potential child neglect.

“If I would punish anybody,” said Nancy Dubler, bioethics director at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, who learned of the case from The Times, “I would punish the pediatricians.”

The Focus Turns

Now that authorities have settled on the cause of Eliza Jane’s death, the focus has turned to the parents and their remaining child, Charlie.

Even when a child dies because he or she did not receive adequate medical treatment, the law is not at all clear about who, if anyone, should be held responsible. There are few precedents, and courts traditionally give parents and doctors wide discretion.

In two U.S. cases involving HIV-positive mothers who refused testing and treatment – neither of which involved a child who died – the courts appear to have issued conflicting opinions.

“There’s no easy answer,” said Dubler.

What is clear is that child welfare authorities had been told that Maggiore was HIV-positive in 2000 and that her son was at risk for the virus, according to agency records.

An investigator from the Department of Children and Family Services visited the home, according to a copy of the case report reviewed by The Times, but she did not have Charlie tested for HIV or talk to outside experts. She instead relied on her own observations and the assurances of Fleiss.

“Parents appear appropriate and extremely focused on child’s well-being in every aspect,” caseworker Rebecca McCauley wrote in February 2000.

Dr. Charles Sophy, medical director for the DCFS, acknowledged that his department may have erred.

He said the caseworker tried to do her job but relied entirely on Fleiss because the department, at the time, did not have its own medical experts to consult. But even with Eliza Jane’s death, Sophy said, it’s not entirely clear that Charlie is being neglected.

Legal experts said the problem lies in the official definition of neglect.

“DCFS is used to your prototypical neglect case where the house is filthy and the mother doesn’t care,” said Thomas Lyon, a USC law professor and expert in child abuse litigation. “They’re just not accustomed to the kind of neglect where you have an otherwise healthy, good parent.”

Word Is Getting Out

Since Eliza Jane’s death, Maggiore and her husband have kept a relatively low profile, her friends said. But word is slowly reaching HIV dissidents around the country.

Though shaken, most of them say they continue to support Maggiore and her contention that HIV is not the cause of AIDS.

For her part, Maggiore said that her daughter’s death has taken a toll on her health; she’s had trouble eating, sleeping and, this past summer, simply breathing. She’s treated her symptoms with Chinese herbs, walked five miles a day and practiced yoga, and is now feeling better, she said.

She went to a sympathetic doctor, she said. “If I had gone to a regular AIDS doctor and told them I was HIV-positive, I have no doubt they would have blamed it on that.”

In the weeks after Eliza Jane’s death, her parents created a website, http://www.ejlovetour.com , in her memory. Maggiore wrote lovingly of her daughter, wavering between despair at her loss and acceptance that Eliza Jane had simply chosen, as Maggiore put it, to “go home.”

She struggled most with the whys.

“Why our child – so appreciated, so held, so carefully nurtured – and not one ignored, abused or abandoned?” she wrote. “How come what we offered was not enough to keep her here when children with far less – impatient distracted parents, a small apartment on a busy street, extended day care, Oscar Mayer Lunchables – will happily stay?”

This story is a classic which should be studied by all sociology students interested in how ungrounded and shameful emotions drive public discussion and politics in medical matters as powerfully as they did two millenia ago, despite the fact that that miraculous 21st century global Library of Alexandria, the Internet, with its Godlike guide Google, is at hand for anyone to use.

Exactly how the coroner, let alone the reporters, and all the other supposed experts in child care ready with a quote or for some way of exacting revenge on poor Maggiore for questioning what they imagine is the best science, are able to proceed without being aware of the clear and obvious likely cause of the death of the poor child is a mystery of modern medicine.

It has been known for a long time that administering penicillin (synthesised under various names) to very young children to cure ear infections is a procedure which leads to rare fatalities, even though it is the most popular treatment of conventional medicine, at least until recently. In Europe, however, it is less popular for that reason as well as concern that the use of antibiotics should be minimized to avoid disease agents building immunity.

We say until recently because we would hope that the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatricians last year might have reduced the popularity of this medication, since the Academy admitted that such treatment risks the rare but lethal possibility in one in twenty children (others say it may be ten per cent) that the child goes into anaphylactic shock ie has a hypersensitivity reaction and may even die.

This year the Department of Primary Health Care at he Institute of Health Sciences at Oxford University meta-study reviewing all studies in the field in 2005 found that antibiotics did little good anyway in such cases, since ear infections are mostly viral. The only slight benefit was that pain was reduced in 7 per cent of cases after two days. (See Antibiotics for acute otitis media in children, P. Glasziou et al. for the foundation for meta-analysis, the Cochrane Collaboration, pub in the Cochrane Library 2005 issue 3 (John Wiley )at The Cochrane Library)

The doctors involved in the care of the child apparently followed exactly the standard procedure and did not give the child the antibiotic immediately. Unfortunately, however, Maggiore’s instinctive wariness of antibiotics did not prevail, and amoxicillin was eventually administered. We say unfortunately because it is plain from the suddenness of the child’s decline and death immediately after the dose that this orthodox treatment was the likely cause.

Apparently the superstition about HIV is sufficiently strong that it blinds people to the obvious, however. The coroner’s suggestion that Eliza Jane died of “AIDS-related pneumonia” seems laughable. The noted AIDS/HIV reviewer Harvey Bialy has sent this letter to the Los Angeles Times:

Dear Sirs,

This is in response to the story you published yesterday regarding the death of the daughter of Christine Maggiore and Robin Scovill.

In order to have a diagnosis of ‘aids related pneumonia’, two conditions must be met. The patient must be HIV antibody positive, and there must be a clinical pneumonia. Whether Eliza Jane was in fact Ab+ is information that neither the LA Times nor the coroner’s office has as yet made public. However, according to *all* reports it is acknowledged the child suffered none of the textbook symptoms of pneumonia, and had previously been in excellent health for several years. Thus the crucial second condition appears completely unsatisfied. (A post mortem finding of PCP in the lungs means nothing since it is 100% ubiquitous in human beings). Thus we are left to ponder the only significant fact, and it is one of omission, in your story. On what basis did the coroner conclude the child died of ‘AIDS related pneumonia’?

After more than 20 years of attempting to get straight answers about HIV/AIDS from so-called authorities, I am less than sanguine that this latest, simple query will be satisfactorily answered.


Dr. Harvey Bialy

Resident scholar

Institute of Biotechnology

Autonomous National University of Mexico

Cuernavaca, Mexico



Author of
xccA48&isbn=1556435312&itm=2″>Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: A Scientific Life & Times of Peter H. Duesberg

What is even more disturbing than this HIV-induced medical myopia is the way in which (according to this newspaper report) even the doctors who followed the perfectly conventional treatment for Eliza Jane are now taking refuge in the ideology of AIDS, whereby the presence of HIV is held to account for almost any death where it is assumed to be present. In this they are joining a stampede, for every other supposed expert consulted by the reporters seems to incline to the same view, even though it contradicts the conventional HIV/AIDS ideology in all important ways.

HIV is not something which kills a child in 24 hours; in fact it is notoriously held to take an average of ten years to work its supposed depredations. Moreover, toxic shock is not one of the 32 or more AIDS symptoms listed by the CDC. However keen they may be to add almost any ailment to the list (if we recall correctly, cervical cancer was added to it at some point), there just isn’t any way in which they can rationalize that one.

That none of the pediatricians and experts consulted by the reporters came up with the notion of toxic shock is astounding. That the coroner didn’t is amazing. It is general knowledge in the medical profession, and certainly among pediatricians. It is almost like an astronomer not knowing that Jupiter is a planet. Perhaps it was edited out. If so, one has to ask why. Instead, the story is built from beginning to end on the incredible assumption that HIV caused Eliza Jane’s death, based on the coroner’s conclusion reported here that the cause was “AIDS-related pneumonia” (we hear, however, that other causes were actually listed as well in the report released Sept 25).

Perhaps the preventive solution is that medical practitioners and officials should keep up with the literature of their field, and that in a complex world of information overload, lay people should not be prevented from doing their own research and helping the medical professionals that serve them to avoid such oversights. And the reporters in the media might also assist the public by writing news stories which are well informed and not inherently biased against such second guessing of the medical establishment, or as the case of AIDS shows, the scientific establishment.

To treat the information overloaded human beings who practice modern medicine and science as authorities who cannot be challenged is to risk iatrogenic (physician caused) calamities which all too often can amount to death. Recent estimates of iatrogenic death in the US range as high as 100,000 a year.

In Christine Maggiore’s case, the worst tragedy that can befall a parent, death of a child, looks as if it might be compounded by the second worst, having a loved and loving child ripped from her care. This is only one example of how an AIDS ideology which permeates society in direct contradiction to the expert review literature in the top scientific journals can lead to the greatest distortions of social justice.

Other examples include the recent conviction of an “HIV positive” prisoner for “assault with a deadly weapon” after spitting on and trying to bite guards.

So much for the 21St century being the century of science. If the review literature in AIDS is correct — and it is after all validated by the peer review system, the gold standard of science, and not only peer reviewed by the leading scientists in the field, but reviewed with intense determination to find fault, only to pass this test with flying colors as they were unable to find any grounds for rejection – this is the century of scientific superstition, at least in the field of AIDS.

Apparently those who want to bring science and religion closer together — and judging from all the conferences and lectures at Columbia University and elsewhere on this hot topic, they are legion – are succeeding very well.

The practical, specific result, in this and similar cases, is that parents who can think and read the lay and scientific review literature for themselves and develop a well founded skepticism of the mainstream HIV/AIDS narrative, are in danger of having their children torn from their grasp, based on a belief already soundly trounced in mainstream science periodicals.

Not a closed book, but an open page on the Net

When will reporters, responsible officials and even other scientists go and read the literature on which all good science and medicine is based? Apparently never, in a nation in which pediatricians cannot even read the recommendations of their own Academy. Unless the public takes the matter into its own hands, and reads some of the literature for itself, it will remain the victim of this reign of ignorance among its purported advisers.

Does science and medicine really have to be a closed book to those without union cards? Most people imagine that it is very hard to get access to the papers in science, let alone plough through their jargon and fathom what they are saying. But this is the age of Google. All you have to do is write in “PubMed” into Google, and you will find yourself faced wih a list topped by Entrez Pubmed:

Entrez PubMed

PubMed is the National Library of Medicine’s search service that provides access to over 11 million citations in MEDLINE, PreMEDLINE, and other related …

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi – Similar pages

Hit that link and you will find yourself at the fabled PubMed Search Slot (it’s at the top under the horizontal line). Type in say “ear infections antibiotics allergic reaction” and you will get such papers as

Aronovitx GH. Related Articles, Links

No abstract Middle ear infections in pediatric patients: treatment with amoxicillin.

J Infect Dis. 1974 Jun;129(0):suppl:S185-6. No abstract available.

PMID: 4152133 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Click on the listing and you can usually read the abstract, if not the whole article. Unfortunately as in this case occasionally there is not even an abstract, and even if there is to read the whole thing you have to join a university library or some institution which will let you have access.

This situation has been rescued by Google, however, since Googling will find most of the material conclusions of key papers referenced, explained and otherwise dealt with in the public-readership pages of the Web.

For instance, Googling “ear infections antibiotics children allergic reaction” will obtain a slew of standard information about the accepted treatment of ear infections in children.

Admittedly, a little more research may be necessary to light on the pages of the American Academy of Pediatricians at http:www.aap.org/, where the recommendations made in 2004 can be found. But they are very readable by the layman. And sources such as Yahoo now have very accessible briefs on the topic of ear infections and conventional treatment. All the warnings on antibiotics are there. Yahoo’s entry is as follows, hinting at the avoidance of risk in other countries where antibiotics are used much less enthusiastically than here:

On page Yahoo Health on Antibiotics for ear Infection

Why It Is Used

Antibiotics may be used to treat an ear infection. Amoxicillin is usually the first choice for treating otitis media.

Antibiotics are sometimes used to prevent infections in children who have had repeated ear infections (recurrent otitis media).

How Well It Works

Antibiotics are effective in most cases of ear infections. However, only 1 out of 8 children with ear infections needs antibiotics to clear an ear infection. In 7 out of 8 children, ear infections clear on their own. 2

A child with an ear infection should feel better within 48 hours after beginning antibiotics. If your child doesn’t feel better, call your doctor. A different antibiotic may be needed.

There is growing controversy over the use of antibiotics over a long period to prevent recurrent ear infections. A recent study showed antibiotics were no more effective than a placebo in preventing recurrent ear infections. 3 Also, many doctors are reluctant to prescribe long-term antibiotics because of the concern over the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotics may be tried to treat persistent fluid behind the eardrum (chronic otitis media with effusion). However, the antibiotic may only temporarily clear the fluid from behind the eardrum.

Side Effects

Common side effects of antibiotics include:

* Nausea or vomiting.

* Mild diarrhea.

* Another infection, often due to another kind of organism, such as oral thrush or vaginal yeast infections.

Less common and more serious side effects of antibiotics include:

* Skin rashes, hives, or itching.

* Severe allergic reaction (rare).

Use of antibiotics to treat ear infections increases the risk for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Children who have been given ceftriaxone may complain of pain at the site of the shot.

See Drug Reference for full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

In many countries other than the United States, antibiotics are prescribed much less frequently for ear infections.

Amoxicillin is often the first choice for treating ear infections because it is effective against most organisms that cause ear infections, most children can take it, and it is less expensive than some other antibiotics.

The effectiveness of antibiotics in clearing persistent fluid behind the eardrum (chronic effusions) is being studied. Antibiotics may temporarily clear the fluid from behind the eardrum. Other treatment, such as tube insertion, may be needed to clear fluid from behind the eardrum, preventing damage to the eardrum and hearing loss.

From all these sources it is clear from the accounts of the tragic death available so far that the treatment the child received from the doctors called in by her parents was perfectly in line with conventional medicine, with the adverse effect a known risk for a subset of about five (possibly up to ten) per cent of children.

There is no conceivable way in which HIV could have been involved in the fatal systemic shock which is so obviously the cause of the child’s death, even if every outlandish claim of the current AIDS paradigm is accepted.

Therefore we expect that any rational enquiry will not harm Christine Maggiore with its conclusions. If anything, it will highlight the gross incompetence of the coroner and the experts quoted in the Los Angeles Times piece, all of whom seem to be overlooking what should be obvious to any qualified pediatrician.

But rationality may not rule. Ear infection is one of the commonest childhood ailments that result in medical intervention, and the risk of allergic shock to the standard medication, amoxicillin, which was applied in this case is a current concern.

For the Los Angeles Times article and those quoted in it not to mention this is an indication of just how distracting the preoccupation with and dominance of the HIV/AIDS paradigm can be, reducing all under its influence to a state of superstitious hysteria which blanks out reason and perception of even the most obvious other factors.

This is the danger that Christine Maggiore now faces. We wish her well, but worry that irrational forces will prevail and the extreme harm be done to her that has been done to other mothers in this arena, where children have been removed from the care of parents who refuse to accede to the prevailing mental framework of HIV/AIDS.

The ongoing tragedy of Christine Maggiore as an HIV-positive dissenter and now bereaved parent is thus one of the most unhappy results of the general acceptance of HIV/AIDS theory, and threatens to have consequences which can be fairly described as evil, the loss of her second child. For in the list of tragedies that can befall parents, surely the death of a child may be the worst, but the tearing of a child from their care is a close second.

Her case underlines the extreme importance of mounting continuous objective outside review of medical discussion and practice to ensure that scientific review literature does not continue to be ignored by the medical profession, the media, officials and the public, especially in the case of AIDS/HIV, on the natural but mistaken assumption that the scientific literature wholly supports conventional wisdom, when in fact as in the case of HIV it may contain many authoritative and unrefuted review papers which reject it.

Otherwise, as Maggiore’s case now shows in two distinct ways, uninformed claims and politics can destroy people’s lives by assuming authority in place of the best scientific and medical literature.

2 Responses to “Role of HIV as refuge for incompetence, foolishness and spite – Christine’s tragedy”

  1. Dean Esmay Says:

    One idiot actually tried claiming to me that children only go into anaphylactic shock from amoxicillin if they are immune compromised. I nearly fell off my chair.

  2. gos Says:

    I don’t even bother telling anyone what I think killed EJ. I just show them the following text from A Mother’s Denial, A Daughter’s Death, and ask them what they think. So far, I’ve shown it to dozens of people, including one NON-dissident doctor, and the verdict has been unanimous — they all agree that it was amoxicillin, not AIDS, that killed little EJ.”The first hint that Eliza Jane was ill came at the end of April, when she developed a runny nose with yellow mucus, Maggiore told a coroner’s investigator.On April 30, Maggiore took her daughter to a pediatrician covering for Fleiss. That doctor found the girl had clear lungs, no fever and adequate oxygen levels, the coroner’s report said.Five days later, Maggiore sought a second opinion from Gordon. In an interview, Gordon said he suspected an ear infection but believed it could be resolved without antibiotics. In a follow-up call, he said, Eliza Jane’s parents told him she was getting better.Maggiore then asked Denver physician Philip Incao, who was visiting Los Angeles for a lecture, to examine her, the mother told the coroner’s investigator. He found fluid in Eliza Jane’s right eardrum.On May 14, Incao examined her again and prescribed amoxicillin, Maggiore told the coroner.Incao is not licensed to practice medicine in California.The next day, Eliza Jane vomited several times and her mother noticed she was pale. While Maggiore was on the phone with Incao, the little girl stopped breathing and “crumpled like a paper doll,” the mother told the coroner. She died early the next morning, at a Van Nuys hospital.”

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