Monday, May 16, 2005

My (hopefully) LAST post on the matter of Brooke Greenberg

Henry Stern made the following very reasonable comment in response to my post on Brooke Greenberg's physician:
"I'm wondering, tho, if this has something to do with HIPAA and PHI issues, as opposed to literary ones.

After all, given that Brooke is (apparently) the only person extant who has this condition (disease?), it's hardly possible for him to discuss 'Patient Doe.'"
That's a perfectly reasonable point Henry and may in fact be correct. However, I've seen many "one of a kind" case reports in the medical literature.

This story wasn't ALWAYS in the news and many details of strictly medical interest could have been discussed without giving the patient's identity away (physical findings, lab results, imaging studies, psychometric evaluations, etc.) It should be clear that the medical implications of such a case are of extraordinary interest touching on so many issues: aging, genome preservation, immuno-surveillance, oncology, mediators of inflammation, fetal development. The list is endless.

Also, many of the issues that made this story newsworthy (the more touchy-feely aspects) could easily have been left out of such case reports without interfering with their scientific value yet leaving privacy intact.

As an aside, I would like to give credit to a novel theory as to why this story originally fell off the face of the internet. This courtesy of Sharon in a comment she left on A Welsh View:
"I have another idea. Hoping not to sound like a conspiracy theorist (my emphasis), could it be the government has suddenly show an interest in this young person who appears to have some sort of secrets to longevity within her DNA? Or at the very least, some incredible ability to beat the odds even when near death?"
The obvious implication here is that the government feels that the world's proles (us) aren't ready for the ethical, sociological and theological implications of immortality. Certainly the powers that be would want to keep this information out of the wrong hands.

Feeling a little left out everyone?


Blogger Henry Stern, LUTCF, CBC said...

I seem to recall that Lazarus Long had two (twin) sisters.

Neither was named Brooke, however.

I suspect that there's a more likely explanation for the paucity of info on this story.

Thanx for the kind words.

May 17, 2005 5:44 AM  

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