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

By Abraham B. Bergman | Go to book overview

18
THE MOBILIZATION
CONTRACT

In the fall of 1977, I stepped down as president of the NSIDSF. Judie Choate had "burned out" in the job the previous year, and by 1977 Carolyn Szybist was already showing the characteristic premonitory signs. With evidence of a broken marriage on my hands, I was clearly not immune and needed some respite. My resignation was an incredible relief.

I had wanted to quit two years earlier, after the SIDS law had been passed, but two factors deterred me. First, the transition of the central office from New York to Chicago was rocky enough. More turmoil might have swamped us. Second, because there were so few of us active in the trenches, the Foundation had the unwritten rule that no one could quit any job without first identifying a successor. Unfortunately there were no candidates clamoring for my job. It took two years to find a credible successor who evinced even the slightest interest. At that point, providentially, Stanford B. Friedman nibbled at the bait; I was not about to let him get away.

I had been an admirer of Friedman since 1959, when we worked together as pediatric residents in Boston. It was apparent that he possessed "the right stuff," which to fellow residents meant that he was cool in emergency situations. His abiding interest has always been the interaction of body and mind, which has led to an outstanding career in both pediatrics and psychiatry. While working at the National Cancer Institute on coping mechanisms in illness, Friedman published a landmark study on the biochemical correlates of grief ( Friedman et al. 1963). It was thus not surprising that he was also attracted to studying SIDS.

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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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