Coroner: Subject Killed By Not Enough Prayers And Likes On Facebook
Gainesville, Florida (AP) – Jennifer Bates, a local high school senior, died last Wednesday because news of her plight was only shared 228 times on Facebook, according to the County Medical Examiner. The number that would have allowed Ms. Bates to survive her battle with an infection was estimated at 250.
Friends and family gathered this afternoon to mourn the former cheerleader and accomplished student, lamenting the cruelty of a world hat could not spare 22 more Likes and Shares. Her closest friends, in particular, found it difficult to absorb that all it would take to save Jennifer was a click of the Share link, yet untold numbers of Facebook users decided not to expend the fraction of a calorie necessary to do so.
“I don’t understand,” said Kim Hartley, 18, choking back tears. “We had a campaign to save Jennifer, and it was going so well. We wanted to get to 250 Likes so badly. I’m sorry, Jennifer,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry.”
Hartley’s father, Geoff, was the infectious disease specialist who first diagnosed Bates and issued her prognosis. “Normally it wouldn’t have been a problem for a patient to get the requisite number of Shares or Likes and beat this thing,” he mused, shaking his head. “But this must have been one stubborn pathogen, and in the end the cumulative quantity of Facebook attention just wasn’t enough to fight it off.” He said he and the Bates family were discussing establishing a foundation to provide Facebook Likes for needy patients who could not afford a social media presence significant enough to boost the immune system.
Gainesville was the site of a similar scene two years ago when 28-year-old Bradley Borowitz died after thousands of Facebook Likes regarding his need for a kidney donor failed to result in his recovery from renal failure. At the time, community attention focused on the surgeon, who had claimed he would be unable to operate unless Borowitz’s condition was made known to at least 50,000 users.
A malpractice inquiry found that the surgeon, Michael Levy, had made no such statement. In that case, the Medical Examiner found that a contributing factor in Borowitz’s death was his failure to forward an e-mail chain letter in 1998.
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