Have you ever wondered about how famous people died or what diseases they have? VIPatients (Very Important Patients) is an interactive database for famous people with fatal and non-fatal diseases. It lists the patients by profession, diseases, cause of death and dates of birth and death.
You’ve probably seen the work of Dr. Stephen Berger before. He’s one of the founders of GIDEON (Global Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Network). Today, though, I’m thoroughly entertained by another tool he’s created, VIPatients.com, a neat tool that lets you look up medical conditions to see what well-known people have suffered from them.
First, you choose the profession, disease, and date range of person’s death, as well as choosing whether or not the condition should have been fatal- then click Search.
VIPatients returns a list of people in its database that meet this criteria:
Select one of the people listed, and get the details on that individual:
The lovely person who made me aware of VIPatients says that Dr. Berger’s efforts on this tool began in 1980:
…he was lecturing some students and happened to mention that Eleanor Roosevelt died of TB. He says he noticed that the students suddenly ‘woke up’ and became interested in this otherwise boring subject. So he went home and looked up others who died of the disease [Vivian Leigh, George Orwell] and started keeping a file on index cards. His initial research consisted of going through the entire Biography section of the Brooklyn Public Library – every book, then the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Bible, Books about Popes, Plagues, the Wild West, Famous Animals and all issues of Time and Newsweek.
So I’m just tickled with VIPatients, and have added it to my collection of reference bookmarks, but I’d like it even more if it included some indication of from whence came the information about a particular person/illness.
For more about Dr. Stephen A. Berger, see his ZoomInfo bio.
For more on GIDEON, see this description from EBSCO.
10/26/2006: Better link for more information on GIDEON.