Skip to content

health communication

Around town: Where’s the Patient’s Voice …?

  • by

By English: Clinic Painter (eponymous vase)Français : Peintre de la Clinique (vase éponyme) (User:Bibi Saint-Pol, own work, 2007-07-21) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsMost of the conferences covered in the Around Town series are annual or occasionally biennial events, hosting professionals for continuing education to update their skills, knowledge base and networking in the subject of their passion. The Patient’s Voice conference, held November 12–14, 2015 in Vancouver, was different: this was an evaluation of progress made since the first meeting ten years ago.

Read More »Around town: Where’s the Patient’s Voice …?

Making the myth of patient zero

  • by

Don Sapatkin has a really interesting piece up at right now. It chronicles the origin of the “patient zero” narrative. If you’re not familiar, the story is that all known cases of HIV in the United States can be traced back to a single, unusually promiscuous individual, a flight attendant from Canada named Gaetan Dugas. While a lot of people have known this to be bunk basically since it was published, many others seem to believe it. I first encountered it on a message board where it was posted as an interesting factoid.


What Sapatkin’s article reveals is that the entire “Patient Zero” story was a calculated PR strategy by HIV researchers and public health officials who had become desperate to bring the disease into the public eye. According to the people quoted in the article, it worked. According to others, the effect on Dugas was ruinous, and his treatment utterly inhumane. Read More »Making the myth of patient zero