Friday, July 16, 2010

tale of TWO firsts

If you read most accounts of the early days of penicillin, they will say:

"Yes, we must admit that it appears that Dr Martin Henry Dawson gave a needle of penicillin-the-antibiotic to Aaron Alston, an SBE sufferer, in New York City on October 16th 1940 and he died. And then Dr Dawson died."

That safely out of the way, they move onto their chosen hero of the penicillin saga.

For once, I am not jesting - I can point you to many influential examples that say basically just that.

Much later ,some accounts of the penicillin saga say :

 "Dr Dawson gave the first ever needle of systemic
 penicillin to Charlie Aronson , an SBE sufferer, on October 16th 1940 in New York City and Charlie survived not just one but two bouts of SBE thanks to

 Charlie was alive and well the last time he was checked up upon, in early 1946.
And we know most of this thanks to a article by Dr Dawson written in early 1945, so Dr Dawson didn't seem to die so quickly after all."

What gives?

 Is this glass half full or or half empty ?

 Or are Charlie and Aaron the one and the same patient ?

The answer is that few authors resort to guns to murder anyone these days when they can destroy someone so much quicker and safer by "editing".

The fact is both men were treated with penicillin within minutes of each other on that same date and their fates were just as these authors indicated.

But editing out/editing down an entire event "for brevity", allows a writer to paint Dawson as a winner or loser, depending on what part of the story they choose not to tell.

I intend to tell the whole story warts and all- so judge me accordingly.

Charlie and Aaron will both be in my account.

(However while I can't prove it, I do tend to think that Charlie got the first dose, if only a two minutes before Aaron.

I base this on how I think that detractors in science dispute work to weaken any triumph that is not their's.  And how Dawson, Meyer ,Hobby & Chaffee tried to forestall them.)

More on this point later...

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