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Casey Cohen asks Nicholas Bennett, MD to Respond to Second Al-Bayati Report on Death of Eliza Jane Scovill

Nicholas Bennett, a resident in pediatrics at SUNY university in New York State, has already refused Casey Cohen’s pleas to debate Christine Maggiore. As the author of a response to Dr. Al-Bayati’s report on the autopsy of Christine Maggiore’s daughter Eliza Jane, which has been widely cited on the internet, surely Bennett will respond to a second report by Mohammed Al-Bayati…

Oct. 29

Dear Dr Bennett,
I understand you are not available for the New York debate but hope you will take the time to respond to a new report on Christine Maggiore’s daughter (Eliza Jane Scovill) written by the same pathologist you so thoroughly put into place the last time he dared to claim authority on the topic.
I am giving you a PDF of the report in anticipation of its publication in November so you/we will be ready to show how and why Dr. Al-Bayati is wrong once again, and why there is no question the little girl died of AIDS.
I also need your help with what I’m sure are simple questions for you to answer. I’ve been debating someone who says that Eliza Jane’s total lymphocyte count of 10,800 proves she did not have AIDS. I know that’s not true, but I’m not sure why. Can you give me a quick response that puts that claim in the garbage where it belongs? And if you pardon my ignorance, is a total lymphocyte count the same as a CD4 T-cell count?
Thank you for your help with my questions. I look forward to your masterful reply to another pathetic claim from the Maggiore camp.
PS: Are you ever available for lunch? I may be up your way next month and would love to take you out for a bite.

Oct. 30

Dear Casey,
I appreciate the heads-up on Al-Bayati’s latest addition to the fray.
Frankly I’m vaguely surprised at his findings - on both cases. He rather neatly selects two normal views of EJ’s lungs while failing to explain where the excess weight came from, and doesn’t explain why the coroner reported seeing foamy alveolar casts (inflammatory exudates diagnostic for PCP). Al-Bayati submits a bare faced lie when he says that the coroner did not see foamy alveolar casts in EJ’s lungs.
I’m also amused that he had access to 11 year-old autopsy material that he alleges the coroner didn’t originally prepare. I’m very skeptical on the truth of these slides he’s claiming belong to these two kids.
EJ’s total lymphocyte count was apparently (i.e. according to Al-Bayati) more or less normal, but that isn’t helpful because we don’t have subset studies to show whether or not her CD4 count is selectively low. CD8 and B cells are other lymphocytes, which would contribute to a total lymphocyte count and are less affected by HIV infection.
I may or may not have the time to formulate another response, if one is warranted.
I’m afraid I shan’t be drawn into the debate further as I know you have direct access to Ms Maggiore and various legal implications may arise.
As regards your invitation to dinner, I must decline as aside from the very real risk of finding myself misquoted somewhere, I am running the inpatient pediatric unit as senior resident for the month of December.

Nov. 5

Dr Bennett:

When might we see your dissection and refutation of the latest report on Maggiore’s daughter? The Al-Bayati report is up at the site. A response from our side is needed ASAP.

Re your comments:

  • “Failing to explain where the excess weight came from”.

    Al-Bayati explains that excess weight in lungs and other organs is from circulatory fluid. Is this wrong? How do you explain the excess weight of the organs?

  • “doesn’t explain why the coroner reported seeing foamy alveolar casts (inflammatory exudates diagnostic for PCP)”

    Can we trust what the coroner reported seeing? Do you see the foamy alveolar casts? Is it possible this coroner guy really did screw up? That would really suck now, wouldn’t it?

  • “I’m also amused that he had access to 11 year old autopsy material that he alleges the coroner didn’t originally prepare.”

    Let’s assume these slides are legit. How do you respond? The ones of the other kid look seriously messed up, even to me. We need to go beyond being amused and come up with some retorts here.

  • “EJ’s total lymphocyte count was apparently (i.e. according to Al-Bayati) more or less normal”

    Even I know that the lymphocyte count came from the hospital, not Al-Bayati, and that it was above normal, not more or less normal. It was really high. Plus, are you sure we need to have subset studies? My friend (quickly becoming an enemy) I debate about this stuff with gave me this study in reply to your comment which appears to use total lymphocyte counts in AIDS:

    HIV Paediatric Prognostic Markers Collaborative Study. Use of total lymphocyte count for informing when to start antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected children: a meta-analysis of longitudinal data. Lancet. Nov 26;366(9500):1868-74, 2005
  • “I may or may not have the time to formulate another response, if one is warranted. I’m afraid I shan’t be drawn into the debate further as I know you have direct access to Ms. Maggiore and various legal implications may arise.”

    What exactly are you saying here? Of course a response is warranted. You responded to the first report and complained Al-Bayati didn’t look at the slides. Now that he’s posting photos of the slides, how can you not respond?

    And what does a new response to a new report have to do with legal implications? This was not a concern when you responded to the first report.

    Anybody with a computer or a phone has direct access to Maggiore. What does that have to do with anything?

If you pull out now from this debate, it will not look at all good.




Nov. 6

This latest report doesn’t really add much to the original and I seriously doubt its accuracy, even more so than the original which was demonstrably flawed and full of lies and misrepresentations - as was evident by comparing it to the true coroner’s report which was posted on the ABC news website.
I’m not pulling out of anything. I will continue to comment and correct the lies and misrepresentations of the AIDS dissidents in general, and various individuals and groups in particular, including Al-Bayati - as I have done for the past 8 years.
I do however have another life, which includes working up to 80 hours a week looking after sick kids with some teaching, research and writing on the side. From time to time I put my anti-dissident work on the back burner.
You have rather more direct access to Maggiore than most. It’s well known among various other non-dissidents that you once wrote to me from an email account once used by Ms Maggiore.
The irony of you suggesting that we’re somehow on the same side is amusing whenever you contact me.
Feel free to continue to forward further pre-release dissident material.

Nov 6

Dr Bennett:

I don’t understand from your message if you will respond to this new report on Eliza Jane or not.

I think avoiding a debate is probably wise, and I respect your decision to not confront Maggiore in public. Not all of us come off well in front of an audience and we do more good working behind the scenes.

But the new report on Eliza Jane needs a reply by the authority who proved Eliza Jane did have AIDS. That authority is you.

Every blog, every web site, every expert anywhere in the world that says Eliza Jane did have AIDS uses your critique of the pathology report that says she didn’t. Everyone references Dr Nicholas J. Bennett and your debunking of Al-Bayati.

You’re a medical doctor, a pediatrician and AIDS expert. Who is going to respond if not you? Orac is great for spreading the word, but it’s your word he’s spreading. He’s not even in a position to reply with authority on his own. I mean, who is he? He’s got a name like a magician and his web site looks like the opening scene from Star Wars!

Please don’t tell me you don’t have time. Weren’t you just as busy when Al-Bayati’s first report came out?

Since this new report includes photos of the slides you (and Orac and everyone else) slammed Al-Bayati for not looking at, now that photos of the slides are brought into the debate, it seems very important (as in essential) that you, the primary critic of Al-Bayati’s original work on this case, slam the slides. At the very least, you can do that!

Why let Maggiore et al have the last word now, and with photos of the slides you complained they weren’t looking at? The photos of those slides creates problems that need to be addressed. What is all that stuff in the other kid’s lungs and why isn’t there anything like that in Eliza’s lungs? If the slides are false or misleading, if Al-Bayati is engaging in trickery of some sort, call him on that!

I can understand the no show policy with regard to the debates, but “I don’t have time to respond” as a response now that a response is urgently needed completely sucks. It’s like you lead us half way into battle and then abandon us when the enemy starts to fire back.

Sometime during that 80 hour work week you must take time to eat. Let me take you to lunch or dinner or just out for a tea if you’re really that pressed. We could go over the new report and I could start to put together a reply using your first reply as a model, and then you could fill in the details.

The points (off the top of my head) I think we need to address are:


  1. Are they real, and even they were, what would they prove?
  2. Does bacterial pneumonia (other kid’s slides) look like PCP pneumonia (Eliza’s slides)? Are they comparing apples to oranges?
  3. Can you get some lung slides from kids with PCP and show how Eliza’s lung slides look just like theirs?
  4. Why compare the two cases anyway? The other kid did not have AIDS, she just had the same coroner.
  5. What if you look at the slides and write your own paper on them? I could contact Al-Bayati and ask him for photos of all the slides. If he gives them to us, you can analyze them, and if he doesn’t, that will look bad.


  1. Does a normal lymphocyte count really mean someone has normal immunity?
  2. Find studies that show people can have a high lymphocyte count and low T cells.


  • How come no one is talking about that?! What was Eliza’s viral load?


  1. The evidence of AIDS is clear (PCP, p24) making the technicality of a positive HIV test a non-issue.
  2. Find studies that say it’s OK to diagnose AIDS with no HIV test.


  • Find studies, evidence, etc to support the coroner’s position (no pun intended) that the other kid was sexually abused and murdered. This is important since your/our side relies to a certain extent on the veracity of this coroner’s conclusions in both cases. If he’s wrong about the sexual abuse and shaken baby this looks bad for all of us.


  1. You’re an expert in pediatrics, he’s not even a real pathologist, right? (Was it you or Orac that said Al-Bayati was a veterinarian? Or that his PhD in pathology was fake or something?)
  2. You work with children, Al-Bayati works with papers and slides.
  3. You’re a doctor (right? when’s your residency done?), he’s not.

We can go over other points by email and then discuss in person. Let me know what day or evening would be good, how to find you on campus or where we could meet that’s close and convenient for you.

Did you know you are not listed at the SUNY web site or in their email or phone directory? Also, I couldn’t find you using google or yahoo or through any pediatric medical associations. As the leading authority on this issue, you might want to make yourself more accessible. Plus, as you surely know, Maggiore filed a law suit against the coroner. Once that gets to court, the media will probaly be hitting on this topic again and referrring to your refutation/s of Al-Bayati’s reports. Has the coroner’s office contacted you to testify?

Maggiore forwarded you that first email about the debate because I didn’t realize your email address was on the first page of your report on Eliza Jane. Turning to Maggiore for help with that does not put me in her camp and you really ought to make it easier for people to find you.



Nov. 7

I may respond, but in my own time, and on my own terms :o)
The phone directory at SUNY is for faculty and admin staff - residents are neither. I do however have (half) an office and telephone (unlike nearly all other residents) because of my role in research there.
If you search for “Nick Bennett” at the hospital website ( I am in the first link provided, where it discusses my award from and induction into the Gold Humanism Honors Society for my patient care and teaching skills.
If you Google “Nick Bennett AIDS” I am found or mentioned at the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth links.....need I go on?
In addition, if you were to search for ‘Nick Bennett AAP’ (the AAP is the American Academy of Pediatrics, the leading pediatric medical association in the United States) I am, once again, in the first two links. For obvious reasons the membership numbers of the AAP are not publicly accessible.
Being as I’m in most of the highest ranking links on the major search engines, you perhaps didn’t search very hard :o)
Sadly I am only “the leading authority” (if I truly am) because I am the most vocal - most practicing clinicians and active researchers do not have the time or inclination to put the effort into this. I have only dipped my toes into HIV research compared to the vast majority of HIV researchers. I just have the advantage of a fair swathe of prior articles and debates to draw upon (nothing the dissidents say anymore is new, after all, just rehashed straw men from the 1980s and early 1990s). There are other voices out there with more experience, credentials and reputation than me ö they just didn’t spent most of med school online in AIDS discussion.
Yes, I do have time for other things. I do data analysis, write online articles, I’m designing a new curriculum for the pediatric students and residents and I still find time to be with my wife. Eating however is oftentimes done in the elevator between the cafeteria and the ward. Debates with dissidents has long become a back-burner issue, as I am now firmly of the opinion that point-by-point rebuttals does far less than blanket education of core concepts.
Al-Bayati’s report was in many respects a one-off. I have never done anything like it before, and I was the only person who did it then. The only reason I did so was that his blatant lies and misrepresentations did EJ such a huge disservice.
Christine has written to me in the past, that is true, but she did so to a different email account to the one you wrote to me on, so it seems to me that if she had been simply forwarding the request on she would have used the last one she had written to me at.
Anyhow, that’s all I’m prepared to say right now. As for public debate ö I actually have a knack for public speaking and presentation, that isn’t the issue. Far more relevant is the notion of even giving the public the impression that this is a legitimate point for debate, and an off-the-cuff remark poorly put might backfire when used maliciously.
I question whether a response truly is “urgently needed” except, perhaps, to provide guidance to the legal team of Maggiore in their case against the coroner?
For this reason as well as the time constraints I am leery of meeting up with you. I have already perhaps given you more time than is deserved.

Nov. 7

Dr Bennett:
You spent the majority of your precious time responding to a non-issue, the aside at the end of my message about how hard it was to find you. Just so you know, I searched for your email address using your proper name “Nicholas J Bennett” (also “Dr Nicholas J Bennett”) and nothing came up. It didn’t occur to me to try your apparent nom de internet, “Nick Bennett AIDS.”
It seems from this reply you are not interested in or perhaps even capable of taking on this new report by Al-Bayati. Instead of answering any of my questions with information that might actually help me, and others who want to know why the report you say is wrong is wrong, you toot your horn and tout your credentials. Thanks loads. Nothing about Eliza Jane’s lymphocyte counts, no reply about taking a look at her lung tissue slides, not one word about the visual difference between PCP vs bacterial pneumonia, no comment as to why it appears there’s nothing of consequence in Eliza Jane’s lungs while the other child’s are so obviously abnormal, no remark on the challenge to the coroner’s conclusion of Shaken Baby and sexual abuse in the other child’s case–a coroner whose word you evidently rely on for all your conclusions since you won’t even try to have a look at the slides yourself.
You said, “Sadly I am only the leading authority.” I couldn’t agree more. You lead everyone into battle and then retreat when the other side fires back. You’re too busy, it’s not worth your time, you might say something someone can misquote, you’re leery of meeting for lunch, you only take meals in elevators, you feel sorry for Maggiore, she’s too “dangerous” to meet in public, you might hurt her feelings. Sad excuses, indeed.
Let me know if you ever find the time or the nerve to actually do something that involves stepping out from behind your computer screen and up to the challenges you instigate and then cower from.
Not holding my breath,

Nov. 7

I “spent the majority of precious time responding to a non-issue” mostly because I wasn’t going to respond to the rest of the message.
It’s ludicrous - on the Primetime live program with Ms Maggiore they showed the slides that Al-Bayati is claiming to have possession of, and they looked nothing like the slides he is claiming come from EJ. He is simply a brazen deluded fool for trying to convince anyone otherwise.
Fortunately 8 years of debating with AIDS dissidents has made me rather thick skinned, and verbal abuse is no more likely to make me respond with information that might help Ms Maggiore than compliments.
And of course it was Al-Bayati who instigated this whole thing by misrepresenting the coroners report in the first place...
As Ms Maggiore is indeed pursuing legal action against the coroners’ office, I rather think it prudent to see how that all pans out, don’t you?

Nov. 7

Dr Bennett:
So why don’t you find out which is correct, Primetime or the slides? (Hint: The slides are physical evidence from the coroner’s office, Primetime is a TV show)
Name-calling doesn’t refute the report. It just makes you look ridiculous. Respond to the report, not TV shows and not me.
If you really were thick skinned (and not thick headed), you would understand my message is not verbal abuse but a wake up call.

Nov. 7

Denialism to the end.
I think we’re done. Please do not contact me further. You may continue to look out for my rebuttal, if I decide to do one, but don’t expect it to provide many ideas to the dissident fold about how such arguments would be formally dealt with.

Nov. 7

Hey Bennett:
I won’t be holding my breath, waiting for your rebuttal. It’s clear you have no answers of substance and we’re down to the inevitable name-calling.
Your charge of “denialism” looks a lot like a sad and desperate attempt to maintain some sense of self-righteousness.
It’s foolish to think my questions make me a ãdenialistä or that my offers to help make me an ally. I want answers, and I don’t care what “side”’ they come from as long as they make sense.
You have no idea how many friends I’ve lost, how angry and frustrated I am, how much I want to know what’s true about HIV and AIDS. But unlike you, I’m not afraid of being wrong, of saying “I don’t know” or of meeting someone for lunch.
You’re a disgrace, Bennett, to any side.
Cheers to you as well,

Nov. 8

Hey Bennett:
I won’t be holding my breath, waiting for your rebuttal. It’s clear you have no answers of substance and we’re down to the inevitable name-calling.
Your charge of “denialism” looks a lot like a sad and desperate attempt to maintain some sense of self-righteousness.
It’s foolish to think my questions make me a “denialist” or that my offers to help make me an ally. I want answers, and I don’t care what “side”’ they come from as long as they make sense.
You have no idea how many friends I’ve lost, how angry and frustrated I am, how much I want to know what’s true about HIV and AIDS. But unlike you, I’m not afraid of being wrong, of saying “I don’t know” or of meeting someone for lunch.
You’re a disgrace, Bennett, to any side.
Cheers to you as well,


No further communications have been received from Dr. Bennett.

© Copyright May 18, 2009 by Rethinking AIDS.