September #39 : Death by Bureaucracy - by Gabi Horn

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Talking 'Bout Their Generation

Youth to Youth

Bargaining Power

Growing Up in Public

Liver Worst

Family Tree

Blood Lines


To the Editor

And on the 7th Day...

In the Sack

Vertex Vortex

Pump and Grind

Baby Gap

You Can’t Touch This

Aloe Can You Go?

Death by Bureaucracy

Bubonic Tonic

Say What

Say What

All Apologies

Plenty of Nothing

Rough Cuts

POZ Picks

Spin and Needles

No Miss Manners

HIV Confidential

Making a Scene


Presidential Nemesis

Are the Kids Alright?

Kid Gloves

Prime-Time Lives

Don’t Make Me Over

Confessions of a Jerk

Life Lessons

Quality Time

Valuable Kitchen Tool

Better Safe Than Sushi

The Heart of the Matter

To C or Not to C

The Circle Game

Youth on Drugs


Making the Grade

Finger on the Pulses

Fountain of Youth

Where to find it

Reality Check


Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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September 1998

Death by Bureaucracy

by Gabi Horn

PWA said HMO made him do it

On April 30, Daniel V. Jones unfurled a big banner on a Los Angeles freeway that read: ”HMOs are in it for the money. Live free, love safe or die.” He then set his truck on fire, stood half-naked in front of it and shot himself in the head…as TV news cameras rolled.

According to his videotaped suicide note, Jones, 40, had two motives for pulling the trigger: Public revenge against the HMO that had allegedly damaged his health by mixing up his records with another patient’s, and to avoid death from AIDS. “I’m not going to fight the disease,” he said. “It’s affected my neurological system. I’m not going to end up crazy.”

Millions of shocked viewers—including Jones’ mother—tuned in live to the gruesome finale as LA TV stations preempted programming. But Jones’ plight did not receive much attention beyond a media feast on the gory details. “My brother killed himself so his family wouldn’t have to see him die. He wanted it to mean something,” said his sister, Janet Jones, who only found out post-mortem that her bro had HIV. Instead, “[He] wound up being just another casualty of the medical malpractice industry,” said a Bay Area Reporter editorial, which mused: “We still don’t know if a tree falling in an empty woods makes a sound, but we’ve learned that a person with HIV can fall in the middle of America’s largest urban area and be rendered silent.”  

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