Howard Florey got some very useful advice the day he arrived in America to protect Oxford University's Chromella Brand Penicillin from what he imagined were attacks on his left flank from Henry Dawson and his cohorts in deepest Brooklyn.
"Whatever you do, stay away from taking sides between the advocates of continuing social medicine (people like the US Surgeon General Thomas Parran) and those using the war as an excuse to roll back New Deal medical gains for the poor ( people like AMA godfather Morris Fishbein and the NAS's Lewis Weed.)"
(Dr Weed, upon whom the Hippocratic Oath lay lightly, saw medicines like penicillin and projects like germ warfare as highly useful weapons in a total war - and to test them the poor and the weak would be unwittingly conscripted into the war effort.)
This useful advice from Dr Gregg at the Rockefeller Foundation was wasted on Florey, the son of a hard-nosed industrialist and someone who loathed Blacks, Italians, Jews and trade unionists. (Just for a start.)
In fact, most of the problems that Florey had had with his subordinate Ernst Chain and his co-workers Epstein and Duthie ,had come from of their left-wing social medicine-oriented politics.
Florey rather more preferred men like John Randal Baker, author of the controversial book RACE, if he had a choice as to who he wanted in his Institution.
Leslie Epstein (later Leslie Falk), from the Parran side of the debate, exacted his revenge on Florey by telling all on Florey's secret penicillin work to fellow Jew, Karl Meyer, working with Henry Dawson.
He thus setting into motion the wartime across ocean race to see whether Man or Nature would provide the lifesaving penicillin for the Allied wounded on the beaches of the upcoming Second Front.
And Thomas Parran got his revenge on A N Richards and C S Keffer from the Weed side of the debate, by releasing the penicillin to Baby Patricia which blow the lid off the whole secret effort to keep penicillin hidden until a chemical synthesis had been worked out.
After the war Parran and Falk joined up in Pittsburgh, still pushing a social medicine agency during a time in Cold War America the act of providing health care for all was regarded as the work of the Devil, in his human guise as Stalin.
America never did get decent medical care for its poorer citizens.
But hey, "We'll always have Penicillin. "
Won't we America ...?
Post a Comment