Death of a Special Person
Jeff Mullican has died of AIDS. He was 33 years old.
Time and again, obituaries in American newspapers tell of deaths from the scourge known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome that withers away resistance to disease. Mullican helped show that those who die from AIDS are real people with real pain, real families and often real courage. As they love life, so should they be loved and cared for--not feared, not shunned.
Mullican was the youngest child in his family, and when youngest children die there is a special sadness. Mullican himself was special, for he had not only volunteered to help test a drug that might arrest AIDS symptoms but he had also been willing to talk to Times staff writer Marlene Cimons about his life and ultimately his thoughts about death so that others might start to understand. Throughout the ordeal he had the thoughtful and understanding support of his physician, Dr. Robert Schooley.
Knowing since April, 1986, that he had AIDS, Mullican faced a multitude of problems. He was fired from his job in New England. Although he had some months of reasonably normal health, he had to be wary of the slightest infection. He started to fail this fall, and he tired when he drove a car or even boiled water to fix a meal. Ultimately a combination of infections that people with normal immune systems might have fought off brought him down.
But he kept going to the end. He wanted people to know that there are human beings behind the statistics that coldly report the number of AIDS cases, the number of AIDS deaths. And he wanted more done for research that will help the people who are yet to be included in those statistics. Jeff Mullican was a brave young man.