The 1990s Medicine and Health: Headline Makers
The 1990s Medicine and Health: Headline MakersRobert C. Atkins
David Da-i Ho
Robert C. Atkins (1930–) Cardiologist Robert C. Atkins advocated ideas about diet and nutrition that were controversial but also wildly popular. After first publishing a best-selling diet book in 1972, Atkins returned to the best-seller lists again in 1996 with Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution. He promoted eating foods high in fat and protein instead of foods which are low in fat but high in carbohydrates and soluble fiber. Although many celebrities and others endorsed Atkins's diet plan, the medical establishment condemned it.
Joycelyn Elders (1933–) Joycelyn Elders became the first African American to serve as U.S. Surgeon General after President Bill Clinton nominated her for the position in 1993. Her outspoken, controversial views, such as legalizing drugs and providing a broad sex education for students, immediately embroiled her in controversy. In 1994, during World AIDS Day at the United Nations, she suggested encouraging masturbation as a way to prevent teenagers from engaging in other sexual activities. The next day Clinton requested and received Elders's resignation.
David Da-i Ho (1952–) David Da-i Ho altered the way in which scientists and physicians understood HIV and AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s. His research showed that HIV attacked the immune system immediately after the body was infected. In 1995, he began a daring experiment, administering powerful new drugs called protease inhibitors in combination with standard antiviral medications to treat patients infected with HIV. With this approach, Ho came close to eliminating the virus from the blood in the early stages of infection. Although not a cure, Ho's treatment brought hope to those suffering with HIV.
Jack Kevorkian (1928–) Jack Kevorkian—Dr. Death—strongly advocated the right-to-die and doctor-assisted-suicide. The retired pathologist performed his first assisted-suicide in 1989, and presided over forty-seven more after 1990. He was charged and later acquitted in three assisted suicides; a fourth court case ended in a mistrial. Finally, in 1999, Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder after a videotape, which he had released to the television newsmagazine 60 Minutes, showed him administering a lethal injection to his terminally ill patient. Had Kevorkian hooked up the man to his suicide machine, as he had done in the past, he likely would have been acquitted again.