The "Discovery" of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Lessons in the Practice of Political Medicine

By Abraham B. Bergman | Go to book overview

4
THE BATTLE PLAN

There were two separate but related aspects of the SIDS problem. First and foremost a research effort had to be launched. Research support had been the exclusive interest of the tiny Roe Foundation. A few small grants were awarded, but the Foundation lacked the capacity for any sort of substantial campaign. Money was not the only problem. Few scientists with potential talent even knew of the existence of "crib death"; they had to be recruited to work in the field.

The other dimension was the fate of families losing children to SIDS. The veil of mystery covering both health professionals and the lay public had to be dispelled. We thus were required to put together a multifaceted campaign consisting of promoting research, professional and public education, and support services for bereaved families. It was a tall order!

A common mistake made by political amateurs is failure to identify an end point. Caught up in the excitement of the crowd noise, they run around in circles, and never head toward the goal line. Headlines, television stories, petitions, resolutions, and protest marches are perceived as goals in themselves, rather than as means toward the desired end. Our first task was to mobilize our own troops, and provide them with specific strategies for achieving our objectives. From the perspective of a militant SIDS parent who had been brutalized, Judie Choate drafted a manifesto entitled "No Longer Can We Accept." In this document she spelled out the practices thought to be intolerable, such as unavailability of autopsies, cruel inquests, delays in transmit-

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The "Discovery" of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Lessons in the Practice of Political Medicine
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Appendixes x
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 1
  • 2 - What is Sids? 8
  • 3 - Disturbing the Peace 18
  • 4 - The Battle Plan 29
  • 5 - The Power of Warren Magnuson 41
  • 6 - Sensitizing Professionals 50
  • 7 - The Mondale Hearings 57
  • 8 - Campaigning on the Local Level 68
  • 9 - Our Nader Report"" 81
  • 10 - The Satisficers 93
  • 11 - House Hearings 101
  • 12 - Senate Hearings: Second Round 107
  • 13 117
  • 14 - Implementation: Pushing on a Rope 124
  • 15 - Keeping the Foundation Afloat 136
  • 16 - Collaborating with Nimh 146
  • 17 - A Dual System for Helping Families 152
  • 18 - The Mobilization Contract 163
  • 19 - Calling the Cops 172
  • Epilogue 184
  • Glossary of Names 197
  • Appendix I 203
  • Appendix II 206
  • Appendix III 209
  • Appendix VI 211
  • Appendix V 214
  • Appendix VI 216
  • Appendix VII 218
  • Appendix VIII 221
  • Index 233
  • About the Author 239
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