Doctor, Victim Offer More Promising Outlook

In Jim Murray's column on Rolf Benirschke's struggle with inflammatory bowel disease, Murray stated that Benirschke was originally diagnosed as having Crohn's disease.

To quote Murray, "The diagnosis was doomsday . . . an incurable disorder of the intestines in which the good news is, you will die."

To have Crohn's disease is not doomsday. It is very, very rare that one dies of it.

Inflammatory bowel disease is an illness of the intestines that affects nearly one million Americans. Although it can come on at any age, it most commonly appears between ages 10 and 30. The cause is not yet known.

It is true that one does not cure inflammatory bowel disease. However, recent medical and surgical advances have contributed greatly to the life style of these patients. The vast majority with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease do very well, leading normal life styles, working, studying and raising families.

There are thousands out there who, like Benirschke, have managed to overcome the hardships of the disease and get on with their lives. The least we can do for them and their families is to get the facts straight.

EDWARD J. FELDMAN, M.D.,

Chairman of the Scientific

Advisory Committee,

Greater Los Angeles Chapter

of the National Foundation

for Ileitis and Colitis

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