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November 06, 2007

Signals From The Womb

Signals From The Womb

For many pregnant women age 35 or older, doctors recommend prenatal testing for abnormalities. But some procedures carry a risk of causing miscarriages. Dr. Ravinder "Rav" Dhallan is on a mission to take that risk away. He has created a non-invasive DNA-based prenatal test. What motivates him is the experience of his own wife: she suffered two miscarriages due to a genetic disorder in the fetus.

Rav tells Dick Gordon about the moment he first got the idea to test his wife's blood - at the kitchen table - for a glimpse of his son's fetal DNA, and why he left cancer diagnostics to pursue the new technique full time.

Listener Follow-Up - To Hang A Noose

Dick Recently spoke with Charles Hickman, an African American man who was strangled with a noose in 2002 by a white co-worker. That broadcast drew responses of disbelief from listeners. Dick talks to one of them, house painter Dan Roeglin, about why he was forced to confront his own attitudes about race after hearing Charles' story.

Here is what Dan Roeglin wrote to us:

"I am writing to say that I was deeply touched by the story about Charles Hickman and his encounter with the racists animals that he had to call his 'fellow co-workers'.

I am a 51 years old white man with some mixed feelings about racism, and apparently, a lot of ignorance. 

You see, for a long time, I have had the idea that racism has pretty much faded out in our society and that any remaining animosities were pretty much kept to one's self in public.  I believed that, in a way, many African-American people were simply using racism as a catch all excuse for everything that would go wrong.

Then I heard Mr. Hickman's story of his horrible experience.  I could hardly believe that this happened in 2003.  It was like hearing a story from the segregationist South from the 1950's.

As I listened to Mr. Hickman's words and the tone of his voice, I felt that this man sounded like such a nice person, and what these co-workers were missing by not making him part of the team.  I felt some of the cruelty that he, and every other African American citizen of this country has been put through by my fellow whites and our fellow Americans.

I am amazed at the heartless disregard for this man's feelings by these ignorant few.  I feel like I need to apologize to Charles for this incident on behalf of the white people in this country who do care about our fellow African-American citizens.

That this sort of thing still goes on in this country, in the 21st century, makes me feel ashamed to be white and sad to be American."

Dan Roeglin
Milwaukee, WI

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