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The perils of unmasking scientific truths

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 26 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:210
  1. Felix I D Konotey-Ahulu, consultant physician
  1. London W1N 1AA
  1. felix{at}

    To be chosen to deliver the keynote address at the Martin Luther King Jr Foundation's award banquet took me completely by surprise—and to find that four bodyguards had been assigned me shook me rigid. Nobel laureates Linus Pauling and Max Perutz, along with Hermann Lehmann, Roland Scott, A C Allison, Graham Serjeant, and I, were among a select few invited to Philadelphia to receive an award “for outstanding research in sickle cell anaemia.” But why was I asked to deliver the keynote address, with Pauling and other abnormal haemoglobin heavyweights on the platform?

    Was it, perhaps, because a foundation commemorating a black person wanted to “show off” the only black African among those receiving the award? Was it, perhaps, because I was then director of the largest sickle cell disease clinic in the world? Or was it because I was the only person to have traced hereditary disease in his forebears, …

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