Monday, December 16, 2013

Once-criticized doctor turns to helping Haitians in Haiti and Miami

NORTH MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- It may be hard to remember now, but there was a time when a mysterious autoimmune disease baffled doctors and frightened a world unfamiliar with what is now called AIDS. Arthur Fournier recalls the rise of the epidemic far better than most. In some ways it made him. In others, it nearly broke him. Above all, it helped define the rest of his life.

In 1979, Fournier was a young doctor at Miami's public hospital when patients exhibiting the symptoms of AIDS began flooding in -- only these patients weren't gay men, who accounted for many early cases of the disease. Rather, they were Haitians.

Confounded, Fournier and some of his colleagues soon published a study about what they were seeing among their Haitian patients, concluding "it is possible that this syndrome ... is the same as that found among homosexual men."

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