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May 13, 1998

"The Death of Innocents": Observations on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;279(18):1444. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-279-18-jac80006

To the Editor.—In his review of the book on sudden infant death entitled The Death of Innocents: A True Story of Murder, Medicine, and High-Stakes Science by Richard Firstman and Jamie Talan, Dr Wecht1 has, I believe, made some erroneous statements. Wecht stated that Dr Richard Naeye, Chairman of Pathology at the Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pa, published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine2 in 1973 in which Naeye claimed to have discovered the cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Wecht further states that no other researcher was able to replicate Naeye's findings of the 7 tissue markers that were described. In addition, Wecht states that "these markers join in the pile of discredited etiological explanations for SIDS that were initially proclaimed to the world with much publicity and no equivocation."

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