April 04, 2020
BANGOR DAILY NEWS (BANGOR, MAINE

Correcting the story

Please note the following corrections to your story regarding my daughter’s family (“Maine Woman Ready to Resist HIV Treatment for Her Son,” July 18-19).

Tia Jean was cremated on her fourth birthday, not five days before, as incorrectly stated in your article.

I, Valerie Emerson’s mother, do not “echo the doubts” of Dr. Jeff Milliken, either inadvertantly or any other way. The comment I made came from the train of thought that Valerie may well have opted for calling Nik’s nurse from Home Health of St. Joseph. He receives top-notch nursing care services as well as speech therapy services at home through that agency. These professionals work hand-in-glove with Nik’s primary care physician, Dr. Jean Benson, to ensure his medical care is thorough and timely, and optium for Nik the entire person, not just Nik with HIV.

Of course, Dr. Milliken feels he is on Nik’s side, but it is arrogant of him and unjust of the reporter to imply that he is more qualified for that position than Nik’s mother. Dr. Milliken has seen Nikolas less than a handful of times — he certainly does not know Nik, the entire child.

There is much more information available in a second letter from Dr. MacIntosh, the state’s chosen specialist, regarding this issue which reporter Susan Carney chose not to include. For example, “The long term prognosis of HAART is still not clear. For this reason and because care of the whole child (nutrition, attention to emotional and intellectual needs, care of other medical problems) is as important as the treatment of the virus itself, we have in our clinic chosen to work with parents and caregivers around issues of antiretroviral treatement, and not approach this important part of the treatment plan through invocation of child protection systems.”

I have nothing but the most profound respect for the courage and dignity with which my daughter is facing the circumstances of her life and the lives of her children. Patricia G. Zebulske Brewer


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