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Duffel Bag 'o Death
1999-06-30 09:06:41

Scary Technology
If that's all there is, my friend, then let's keep dancing. Let's break out the booze and have a ball. If that's all there is.
-- Peggy Lee


Some doctors carry medicine and stethoscopes in their little black bags. When an unnamed doctor from U.C. Berkeley came to visit San Francisco last week, he decided to bring a vial of tuberculosis bacilli instead. Whatever he intended to do with the deadly bacteria will have to wait until he can whip up a fresh batch, because someone stole the vial.

It has been reported that "The glass vial was inside a metal canister that is about 8 inches long, 3-to-4 inches in diameter, and carries a bright orange biohazard warning label. The vial is wrapped in bubble wrap, and the bacteria -- which is whitish in color and is about a quarter of a tablespoon in volume -- is at the top of the vial. The vial is in a pocket of the bag, which is an Eddie Bauer bag."

Richard Holder, chief of inspectors with the San Francisco Police Department and obviously not the sharpest cop on the beat, said that the doctor did not notify police until Monday afternoon (6/28/99). Holder also said he did not know why the doctor left the crime unreported so long.

I think a better question might be "What in hell are you doing carrying a vial of deadly bacteria around in an Eddie Bauer bag for anyway, huh? Answer me chump!" That's where I'd start my investigation. Is it a common practice for doctors to walk around with vials full of biohazards? What was he thinking?

Richard Lee, an industrial hygienist with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said that the bacteria could infect anyone putting his nose to the vial or wiping the bacteria with a hand and then touching the face. Of course, to a person not used to dealing with biohazards, the tuberculosis could look enough like cocaine that the thief might be tempted to line up a rail and snort it.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.


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