ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Gene Therapy's Trials and Tribulations

When I was a medical resident at Harvard Medical School's cancer center, I had an experience that was both unnerving and illuminating. In the wee hours of the morning, I was about to give a patient her scheduled dose of an experimental chemotherapeutic agent, but I had trouble getting the air bubbles out of the syringe. So there I was, muttering and tapping on the syringe, when the patient suddenly sighed deeply ... and died. Had all gone smoothly, I'd have given the drug 20 seconds earlier, she

Henry Miller

When I was a medical resident at Harvard Medical School's cancer center, I had an experience that was both unnerving and illuminating. In the wee hours of the morning, I was about to give a patient her scheduled dose of an experimental chemotherapeutic agent, but I had trouble getting the air bubbles out of the syringe. So there I was, muttering and tapping on the syringe, when the patient suddenly sighed deeply ... and died. Had all gone smoothly, I'd have given the drug 20 seconds earlier, she'd have died immediately thereafter, and the death would likely have been recorded as drug related.


Henry I. Miller
I learned from this incident that just because two events are closely related in time doesn't necessarily mean that the first caused the second. (In science, reasoning this way is called the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy: "after the fact; therefore, because of...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?
ADVERTISEMENT