When Modern Medicine Battles Genetics... and Loses

Despite the best care, a patient succumbs to a genetically predisposed disease.

By Claire Panosian Dunavan|Wednesday, January 14, 2009
After 30 years in the doctor trenches, every so often I think about patients I desperately wanted to save—and didn’t. At the top of my list is Arthur Lewis. A quiet, well-mannered teenager, Lewis developed a fungal infection that attacked multiple organs. Three years and many treatments later, the fungus claimed his life. Most infectious diseases are color-blind; their outcome has nothing to do with their hosts’ hue. But Lewis’s illness, coccidioidomycosis, was different....

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