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Anyone else watching ER right now? - Page 3

post #41 of 67


Are you ladies saying that HIV is harmless?

Are you saying that Christine Maggiore had a right to subject her daughter to such an experiment?

Have any of you read Maggiore's "expert second-opinion," Al-Bayati's report? If so, do you realize he is a veterinarian with a history of HIV denialism just like Maggiore? That he cannot be objective regarding HIV because to concede Eliza Jane had PCP and was positive for P24 (a protein exclusive to HIV) would contradict his long-standing position of HIV, rather the absence of HIV.

Do you acknowledge that Maggiore has built an empire of self-promotion and book revenues from the fantasy that HIV is a lie?

Do you know that Robin Scovill, her husband, is the filmmaker behind the project "The Other Side of AIDS."

Have any of you considered that for HIV to be harmless, the entire HIV/AIDS establishment - hundreds of thousands of scientists, physicians, researchers - would all have to be participants in perpetrating what would undoubtedly be the most sinister and toxic, deep-woven conspiracy in the history of man - all to make a buck. Because 99.99% of the HIV/AIDS establishment are in agreement with, comparatively, a handful on the fringe who claim HIV is harmless. Kary Mullis, the inventor of PCR, who is one of those "on the fringe," wrote a book about his alien abductions, that aliens from other galaxies live amongst us and describes conversations with glowing rodents. He is one of a handful of their "prized experts" folks.

Believe what you like. But also consider this question, is a mother allowed to deny her child a life-saving blood transfusion because she believes it will cause her child cancer, despite any scientific evidence to support that notion? If you say no then why are you supporting Ms. Maggiore for doing the same exact thing based on equally absent evidence?

I say that children should never been harmed as a result of the zealous and misinformed opinions of their parents. Children are autonomous human beings; they are not the mere chattel of their parents.

(Yes, this is probably an unpopular post but some balance is needed in this thread)
post #42 of 67
I for one don't buy the hypothesis that HIV doesn't cause AIDS, etc. and so forth. I've read the report by Al-Bayati as well as criticism of it and I do think it is far more likely that Eliza Jane died of HIV related issues than she did of an allergic reaction to antibiotics.

But I still think it was wrong for a TV show to take the story of Eliza Jane and use it as a soapbox to exploit this family's tragedy.

Interesting first post, by the way. Perhaps you'd like to introduce yourself since this is your first post at MDC.

Originally Posted by Livie'sMom
I say that children should never be harmed as a result of the zealous and misinformed opinions of their parents. Children are autonomous human beings; they are not the mere chattel of their parents.
Doubtless you are opposed to circumcision and formula-feeding (where breastfeeding is possible), then.
post #43 of 67
Sure Quirky. I am the mom of Livie (Olivia) who is a beautiful 2 1/2 year old little girl with soft wavy hair and big brown eyes.

I'm a pretty natural, no-nonsense mom raised by same - I guess it runs in families!

I did not watch the ER segment but from what I've heard of it, I agree it's definitely a take on Christine Maggiore. Frankly, if it was a take on the life of an average person living an anonymous life, I would agree that publicly lambasting them would be inappropriate.

But Christine Maggiore has made a career out of her very public fantasy that HIV is harmless. She has encouraged many HIV+ women to breastfeed, knowing it transmits a potentially lethal virus and has educated them on how to avoid life-saving meds for their children. There is no doubt that people have been very harmed by her unscientific notions, her daughter the latest victim. Christine Maggiore exploited herself long before ER was a series.

My sister is a a long time member of the Mothering boards and she and I have been horrified to read the posts of women encouraging HIV positive women to breastfeed by misstating the WHO's established health guidelines.

HIV positive women in developed nations are never advised to breastfeed their infants. However, in third world countries like those in Sub Sahara Africa, breastfeeding is absolutely advised. And the reason should come as no surprise to anyone. HIV+ women living in impoverished nations where access to clean water and untainted formula isn't possible, it is absolutely advised to breastfeed. Certainly the risk of formula made with feces-laden water fed to an infant is far greater than the risk of HIV transmission to the same child. It is disheartening that anyone would chose to misstate such critical facts. Regarding HIV+ women in developed nations, even La Leche concedes that the benefits of breastmilk never outweigh the risks of HIV infection.

I am an organic mom (and have been vegan since I was 13). I am a proponent of breastfeeding. I have been very judicious in the vaccinations I will allow my child to receive and do not favor antibiotic use unless an illness has reached the point of gravity (I refuse to contribute to the creation of resistant super bugs). I insist on being a contributor to this planet in every way and I commend you like-minded ladies.

I am not HIV positive but where HIV is concerned, I have a great deal of education and experience. On this front, denial is fatal.
post #44 of 67

Oh, and about anaphylaxis .........

I really have to wonder if most people understand what anaphylaxis is. Al-Bayati's report theorizes that Eliza Jane died of anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction to an allergen (supposedly Amoxicillin in the case of Eliza Jane).

An allergic reaction that results in death is pretty severe - it's called anaphylaxis. As a child I had an allergy to chocolate. After about 10 minutes I would get some hives which I'd naturally downplay to my mother for fear of my beloved Hershey bar being taken away. Now, I only had a relatively mild allergy to chocolate and after about 10 minutes I would develop hives and some itchiness. The kind of allergy that causes anaphylaxis shock - the claim some are making of Eliza Jane's condition - would be, obviously, severe. Christine Maggiore herself claims the child had been taking Amoxicillin for 2 days when she collapsed.

Please research anaphylaxis and notice that this simply doesn't add up. I've never known anaphylaxis shock to "build-up." It is, by definition, caused by a severe, life-threatening allergy. People who are allergic to bees or peanuts or shellfish, for example, carry around an EpiPen (which is a single dose of epinephrine) so they can inject themselves in their thigh should they accidentally come into contact with their specific allergen - and even that only buys them some time to get to the hospital without their airway closing. But Eliza Jane's anaphylaxis - this "severe, life-threatening allergy" - took 2 days and multiple doses to happen?

Come on!
post #45 of 67
Originally Posted by Quirky
But I still think it was wrong for a TV show to take the story of Eliza Jane and use it as a soapbox to exploit this family's tragedy.
My thoughts exactly.
post #46 of 67
Originally Posted by LivieMom
(Yes, this is probably an unpopular post but some balance is needed in this thread)
I don't really have an opinion on your post, positive or negative. But I certainly appreciate your thoughts, and insight.
Welcome to MDC.
post #47 of 67
Thank you Christeeny. Feels good to have received a warm reception here, even when we disagree.
post #48 of 67
Liviemom I just wanted to say & I totally agree with all the points you made.
post #49 of 67
Thanks Debstmomy! Gee, I was really expecting a horrid backlash since many of the posters to anything regarding Christine Maggiore and HIV+ moms breastfeeding have seemed remarkably supportive that I just assumed the "mainstream" view would be frowned upon.

And I'm very relieved to know that we can strive to be socially conscious, natural moms and still not feel compelled to support women who misuse the healthy principles of an organic lifestyle to excuse subjecting their children to baseless, life-threatening fantasies that result in negligent homicide.

Hey, I know my homemade butternut squash soup probably does a much better job curing chest congestion than a pointless antibiotic but HIV disease is beyond the limits of anything my garden grows. I don't like that fact but it's a fact all the same.

Good to be welcomed by you fine ladies!
post #50 of 67
Debstmomy, I just followed the link to the pictures of your beautiful angel Alexa Rose. It was so touching. What a good family you all are to have cared for her so lovingly. And I'm sure she knew she could count on her mom to see her through to the end. Bless you all.
post #51 of 67
I also wanted to pipe in and say welcome LivieMom and way to jump in with both feet!

I personally don't think that very many people here at MDC agree with the theory that HIV and AIDS are unrrelated. I sure know that I don't agree. I do think that Maggiore had the right to make medical choices for her children based on the research she has done in the past - I may or may not have made those choices if I were in her shoes (?) - may I never be in her shoes. I still stand by that the show was tactless and cruel - there is still a family that is grieving for a tragedy no matter who is to blame.

However that debate was done to death in News and Current events
post #52 of 67

Christine Maggiore presents on ABC Primetime and Radio

Christine Maggiore was featured on ABC Primetime Dec 8th, and on Fintan Dunn's radio show:



Robin Scovill is hardly mentioned at all in any of this. It really sounds like she is a single mom unless you really pay attention.
post #53 of 67
From the Primetime interview:

"Despite seeing a tape of (LA County coroner) Ribe explaining his findings — showing HIV-related encephalitis in her brain and pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) in her lungs — Maggiore refused to believe her daughter died of AIDS."

Jesus Christmas. I have a certain amount of empathy for Maggiore's mistaken theory of AIDS, especially since she is still well herself. AZT is poison, formula is way less good than breastmilk, and a known poz status is undeniably a socia stigma - I do see how she came to choose her path WRT her daughter's (lack of) treatment. It's not like she wasn't equally willing to stake her own life on being right about HIV not causing AIDS.

But it INFURIATES me that she won't own the consequences of her decisions. It is so disrespectful to her daughter's memory.
post #54 of 67
I think she won't believe it, and I have difficulty believing it myself for the same reason, because from every report I've read, Eliza Jane was completely healthy until just a few weeks before she died. It's my understanding that aids causes a long downward health spiral until there's finally one infecton too many to cope with. I've never heard of someone with aids being completely healthy and suddenly being dead a few weeks later. Also, if it was pneumona, why did 3 doctors and a chest x-ray show her lungs were clear? Something doesn't add up and I completely understand why Maggiore would be questioning things.

I understand they can't test for hiv after death, but what about white cell counts? I think I read, a long tme ago, that people with aids have extremely low white blood cell counts.
post #55 of 67
Devaskyla, please please please do some research on PCP and HIV-related CD4 count depletion.

The immune system does not work in the manner you think. CD4 counts (what you might otherwise recognize as "T cells") are critical components of the immune system that orchestrate immune response to bacteria, fungal and viral infections that enter the body. The normal range is 500-1,500 per cubic millimeter of blood. A CD4 count of 250-500 is considered low but probably sufficient to ward off most infections. Anything under 200 puts you at serious risk for infections only seen in immune deficient individuals.

The gradual decline of CD4 cells is NOT in direct proportion to illness. For example, it cannot be said that a person would appear less well with 300 CD4's than 400 CD4 cells. That is too simplistic an understanding of the function of these cells. To use a metaphor, imagine a skylight filling with rain. It may not drip, drip, drip as it fills but once it reaches a certain capacity, it caves in ("the tipping point") - so it can do a good job keeping the water out until it has reached its limit and just because you saw no dripping along the way didn't mean it wasn't reaching the point of collapse - the point where just one more drop would cause destruction.

Once CD4's fall below 200, things get risky. If the individual has a healthy lifestyle (eats well, sleeps enough, has no other underlying disease, etc.), it may be a long time before he/she is faced with in insidious invader the body’s immune system cannot manage. So, what I’m getting at is that for someone with 50 CD4 cells to be very well one day and two weeks later land in the hospital with PCP is not even remotely uncommon in an untreated HIV+ individual and that seems to be your misperception of this disease.

It may surprise you to learn that PCP is the first manifestation of AIDS in untreated HIV+ individuals more than 80% of the time. In fact, in the early 80’s the very reason the CDC and the NIH were aware that a new pathogen was on the scene was because the CDC was getting calls every other day for drugs to treat PCP, a disease previously seen only a dozen times a year in people who’d undergone organ transplants and were on the immune suppressive anti-rejection drugs or in patients whose immune system was blown out by chemotherapy, and even rarely in them.

And rather than continue to bore you with medical facts, please do some research on the manifestations of PCP and the way in which this differs from other pneumonias. A seriously deficient immune system (the only kind that could have PCP) cannot often provide the inflammatory response normally associated with pneumonia. This is well documented in the medical literature and explains why her lungs didn't sound like telltale pneumonia.
post #56 of 67
Smithie, I appreciate your perspective on this.

Yes, AZT is no walk in the park. Neither is chemotherapy but it does save lives. Drugs have side effects - even my Echinacea gives me an acidy stomach, not that I can explain why.

And breastmilk is almost always best. And if it's between HIV tainted breastmilk and nothing for your child, you'd chose the former - no question. In fact, in a crazy hypothetical scenario where my child needed a emergency blood transfusion and the only blood available were HIV tainted, so be it - far better than the alternative. But I'd chose formula over potentially giving my child an incurable disease.

As for the social stigma, it's improved dramatically from the old days but it's still a valid point - though not an excuse for risking the life of your child.

However, I do not agree that Christine Maggiore has staked her own life in support of her ridiculous notion that HIV is harmless. She has yet to face an opportunistic infection. Should the day come when that happens - when Christine Maggiore is diagnosed with perhaps what her child died of, then we'll see where her convictions lie. Countless HIV=AIDS denialists like herself have touted the party line until they've found themselves inexplicably ill with diseases unseen in their HIV negative cohorts - that's when they cave in, one by one. There's nothing that questions your true convictions like when your own life is on the line.

Like the saying goes "there are no atheists in foxholes." We've yet to see how that will play out.
post #57 of 67
I don't usually follow this forum, and what I have to say is only semi-related, but I stopped watching ER years ago.

I used to be a cutter. When I was still self-injuring, but working on stopping, they had a sub-plot about a grad student who presented with anemic-like symptoms, exhaustion, stress. I think it was Carter who, as she was walking out, yanked her skirt up (knee-length skirt, he basically exposed her thighs to anyone in the hallway), showing that she had recent cuts, and proceeded to 'treat' her.

That episode made me physically ill. They have always been routinely disrespectful to psych patients on that show and from talking to other cutters online I know of at least a few cases where their (sadly very real) portrayal of the disdain most ER workers feel for anyone with a psychiatric illness prevented people from getting much needed medical care. It's pretty sad that this show's condonation of cruelty far outside the prescribed standard of care has caused people to sit at home trying to scotch-tape up serious wounds that require medical care. Maybe if this fictional young lady hadn't had good reason to know she would be treated badly, she would've gotten her wounds cared for before she became anemic from regular blood loss.
post #58 of 67
Devaskyla, please please please do some research on PCP and HIV-related CD4 count depletion.
I don't actually care about pcp or hiv at the moment, but I appreciate your explanation. Unless I missed it in my sleep deprivation, I didn't see anything in what you posted that contradicted my belief that testing EJ's blood for t-cells (or whatever that is, i really shouldnt be replying in this state, but i'll forget if i don't ) would give a better idea of whether or not she had aids, since it's too late to do hiv testing.
post #59 of 67
A postmortem T-cell count would have privided powerful evidence either way about whether or not her immune system was toast. Not that HIV is the only thing that can destroy the immune system, it's just the only thing we know she was exposed to during her life.
post #60 of 67
I read the coroner's report and didn't find a CD4 (T-Cell) count or the results of her HIV test. It appears one was done. It was indicated in the report as "done" by Quest Diagnostics" (indicated as an "outside lab," meaning not part of the coroner's office). I suspect (but haven't looked into this) that the laws in California may be very strict about HIV disclosure specifically. Yes, I know that sounds ludicrous since assigning cause of death to "PCP, AIDS-related pneumonia" already implicates HIV by every shred of peer-reviewed, published scientific evidence produced over the last 25 years but the laws may be very specific for disclosing HIV of anyone to protect HIV status on its own.

Yes, there are other forms of immune suppression. Is it possible that Eliza Jane had a specific leukemia that caused the severe immune suppression needed for PCP histopathology, yes. But when you have an HIV+ mother who made no efforts to block the transmission of the virus during delivery and breastfed her daughter for years afterwards, also known to increase risk of transmission, which scenario seems more plausible? that Eliza Jane's immune deficiency was caused by HIV or leukemia? (not to mention the finding of the P24 in her brain matter, a protein exclusive to HIV)

In life there are endless theoretical possibilities for just about everything if you spend enough time calculating them, but it would be unwise to convince ourselves that their possibilities are equal.

For example, it is theoretically possible that a young healthy man whose parachute fails to open had a completely unrelated heart attack just before hitting the ground and that, in fact, that's what killed him and not the fall. But as reasonable human beings, we think it's a safe bet that hitting the earth at terminal velocity was likely the case - perhaps at about a 100 billion to 1 odds over an unrelated heart attack.

By the way Devaskyla, you must have an infant. Your comments about sleep depravation remind me of a zombie existence. I would put my wallet in the refrigerator and even discarded a used poopy cloth diaper in a sock drawer (that mistake was easily detected). I'm very no nonsense about my style as an individual and as a parent but having an infant interrupt my precious sleep six times a night did make me break down into a hysterical fit of tears swearing that if had millions of dollars I would hire a dozen nannies to shove a bottle of formula (GASP! ) into my baby's mouth and I'd run away to a spa on Maui for a month of sleep, sleep, sleep, eat, sleep, sleep, sleep, massage, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep.......well, I think you get the point. I give you permission to borrow my fantasy when you really need it most. It helps!
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