skip navigation
NIH Record  
Vol. LVIII, No. 24
  December 1, 2006
NHLBI Launches Campaign About Peripheral Arterial Disease
Bloom To Give Barmes Lecture
NHGRI Appoints Two New Branch Chiefs
NIH Intern Addresses National Conference
Conference Examines Health Information Technology, Patient-Centered Care
Grad Student Festival Draws Crowd
Rockledge CFC ‘Alley-Oop’ a Success
printer friendly version
NIH, ‘Discovery’ Prove Perfect Combination
National Cable Channel Brings Kids’ Science Battle Here
  Dr. Milton English (r) of NHGRI discusses zebrafish with Discovery Challenge “disease detectives.”
  Dr. Milton English (r) of NHGRI discusses zebrafish with Discovery Challenge “disease detectives.”

A small team garbed in protective gear huddled over several pages and screens of data in an NIH lab one late-October morning. The facts didn’t look good: A patient, call him Joe, was showing symptoms of infection with a virus that had been top news for months. What exactly did he have and how widely had he spread it? The team had just 90 minutes to work: Identify the illness. Prevent a pandemic with limited antiviral supply and no vaccine. Develop public health policy. Communicate with the media. No one seemed worried, though. On the contrary. Teammates looked eager, confident and excited. A couple even…giggled.

Fortunately, the facts were pure fiction. Joe was made-up. The team, dubbed “disease detectives,” was 5 middle-schoolers among 40 competing as finalists in this year’s Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge. Little did they realize, though, their 3-day adventure in science here took months of detailed planning and signaled the start of what planners hope will be a beautiful new friendship between NIH and Discovery.

To Improve Care, Talk About Mistakes
Medical Error Both Systemic and Individual, Says Weingart

In March 1984, Libby Zion, an 18-year-old with a history of depression, was admitted to New York Hospital. Eight hours later, she died.

Zion’s case resulted in a lawsuit in which a jury found that three medical residents had contributed to her death. In a series of errors, the residents had ordered Demerol even though, prior to admission, Zion had taken Nardil, a powerful anti-depressant that cross-reacts with it. The jury also found that the first-year resident should have heeded a nurse’s call to the patient’s bedside and should have requested back-up.