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Penn failed Jesse Gelsinger

To the Editor: I have read many of your articles pertaining to the death of my son, Jesse Gelsinger. You seem to have grasped the essence of what happened very well. In fact, your reports seem to reflect my own growing awareness as the truth unfolded. Jesse would be 19 years old now, very close to your own ages, and it heartens me greatly to know that those his same age seem to have a greater sense of conscience than the men and the machine behind what happened to Jesse. I am a bit dismayed that a man of Arthur Caplan's intellect cannot see why he was included in our civil complaint. As well as the quotes put forth in our complaint, Mr. Caplan was quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer on May 25, 2000, that the new national focus on ensuring patient safety was "good for the ethics train" and that "we thrive on scandal." A man who prospers as a result of the loss of others leaves a lot to be desired. After Jesse's death, I sought to work with the doctors in helping uncover the truth of what happened. I was told that I would be told everything. In early November, I discovered that monkeys had died from a source outside Penn. I was told by one of the doctors that that vector had been altered to be safer in humans, so I continued my support. I learned in late November that some patients had had elevated liver enzymes from Jim Wilson himself, but he didn't tell me that they were stop signs for the protocol. The harshest truth came in December when I discovered that the efficacy that had been represented to me, and thus to Jesse, in July 1999 had never existed and that at least one monkey had become very ill using the same altered virus that Jesse received. It was at that point that I broke off contact with Penn and sought legal counsel. Your generation gives me renewed hope. Keep up the good work so that you can always look in the mirror and know who you are. The money machine doesn't like the exposure that Jesse's death has brought, and there lies the real problem. My son has shown me and many others what life is all about. He will always be my hero.

Paul Gelsinger

Time for Horn to grow up

To the Editor: Ariel Horn blames the University for offering her an education, but not preparing her for the "real world," a statement more disturbing than she seems to realize ("Time to learn a real-life lesson," The Daily Pennsylvanian, 9/27/00). The goal of the University is to provide an education in whatever course of studies you choose to follow. This environment is designed to force you to grow up a bit. No longer does mommy wash your clothes or cook your dinner; it suddenly becomes your responsibility to do such things to keep you alive and smelling dried-in-the-sunshine fresh.

Michael Biercuk College '01

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