In 1967 Dr. Blumberg drew blood from Down Syndrome patients in Philadelphia General Hospital, seeking to find a cause for their disease.

Assistant: “Is it even possible to get real consent from these patients?”

Baruch: “It’s the sixties! No rules.”

Text: He found a rise in a specific protein in all of the patients. Thinking he had found the Down Syndrome protein, he began preparing his manuscript.

But as he was preparing to submit his paper, his lab assistant accidentally stuck himself with a used needle from the clinic. He then became jaundiced and feverish.

Assitant: “This is terrifying.”

Baruch: “Haha! You look like a Simpson’s character!”


Text: Out of curiousity, they ran the assistants blood. They were shocked to find the same protein that they had thought was responsible for Down Syndrome.

Baruch: “Well that explains a lot!”

Assistant: “I feel like you’re a little insensitive to my situation.”

Text: As a result, Dr. Blumberg would go on to win the Nobel prize for discovering a new virus. His lab assistant would go on to develop a chronic hepatitis B infection.