Fla. woman dying of AIDS to testify

September 12, 1991|By Orlando Sentinel

WASHINGTON -- Kimberly Bergalis, who is dying from AIDS contracted from her dentist, is coming to Capitol Hill after all.

Later this month, Ms. Bergalis, 23, will plead before the Houshealth subcommittee for mandatory AIDS testing of health care workers.

The Fort Pierce, Fla., woman originally had been set to testiftoday, but her appearance was postponed until Sept. 26 in what the subcommittee described as a scheduling conflict. The family Monday called the delay an effort to muzzle her.

She doesn't know what her future holds, and this is possibly the last time she can openly speak out or at least appear out on what is important to her," George Bergalis, her father, said yesterday.

Ms. Bergalis and her mother will make the 19-hour train trip to Washington the day before the hearing "come hell or high water and barring any unforeseen happening," her father said.

Also testifying will be Barbara Webb, 65, of Palm City, Fla., another of the five patients infected by Dr. David Acer, a bisexual from Stuart who died of AIDS.

A spokesman for the subcommittee chairman, Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., denied the Bergalis allegations that the congressman caved in to pressure from groups opposed to mandatory testing.

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