Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Manhattan Clearing #7":undignified and unprofessional,HEROIC, science

Henry Dawson probably surprised himself as much as he surprised  the rest of his battalion, maybe even surprised his hometown community, when he revealed a talent for 'heat of the crisis' gifted improvisation and leadership during the events that led to him winning a Military Cross and Citation for Bravery.

That same talent came to the fore perhaps only two more times in his life - during his work on HGT and again in his efforts with penicillin - both times with high stakes outcomes.

He never was an emergency ward doctor or wartime clearing station doctor but he may have had the talent to excel at it.

He most clearly showed this talent in the hectic five weeks leading up to giving that needle of penicillin to Charlie Aronson, seventy years ago, on October 16th 1940.

Neither Fleming or Florey could have done this work - it simply wasn't in their character. Both were all too aware of the constant need to maintain the public image of dignity and certitude for medical scientists.

Both men also lacked that personal empathy for patients as people that led Dawson to forget his professional dignity as he literally ran about with a needle of penicillin - STAT - in his efforts to save lives....

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