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Fourth Patient of Florida Dentist With HIV Dies of AIDS

December 19, 1994| from Times Wire Services

STUART, Fla. — A retired schoolteacher who medical experts say was infected with the AIDS virus by her dentist has died of the disease, a hospice reported Sunday.

Barbara Webb, 68, slipped into a semi-coma last week, according to the Hospice of Martin. She died Saturday, her 45th wedding anniversary.

"She was never bitter about her death," said hospice counselor Pam Jett. "She didn't dwell on the future, she lived in the present."

Webb became the fourth patient of Dr. David Acer, a Florida dentist who died of AIDS complications in 1990, to succumb to the disease. The first, Kimberly Bergalis, who died in 1991 at the age of 23, became an outspoken advocate of AIDS testing for medical personnel.

Two years ago, a federal study concluded that six of Acer's patients contracted the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS, from him. Scientists are baffled as to precisely how Acer transmitted the virus. Acer, of Jensen Beach, Fla., is the only health professional ever known to have transmitted HIV to his patients.

Webb, a former high school English teacher and grandmother of eight, joined Bergalis in publicly calling for testing of health care workers. She gave dozens of speeches nationwide about living with AIDS. She was the teacher of the year in 1986-87 at Martin County High School.

She is survived by her husband, Robert, and three grown children. Her family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the hospice or to other organizations that care for AIDS patients.

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