Thursday, October 7, 2010

it was the patients' MOMS who brought penicillin to the DOCTORS

The private discovery of penicillin happened in September 1928, the public discovery in June 1929 when it was published in an important, peer-reviewed scientific journal.

But then it just sat there for twelve to fifteen years.

So your great grandfather or great aunt died needlessly because the doctors and the scientists did nothing with penicillin, after that public discovery.

In August and September 1943, however, your grandmother "popularly" discovered penicillin when she read about Baby Patricia in some newspaper articles in some of the Hearst publications.

Now the fur really flew, as your grandmother demanded to know why your uncle, off wounded in a hospital in the South Pacific, wasn't getting any of this penicillin.

Her Mom-like anger and urgency finally got the men moving and before long her doctor and every other doctor had penicillin to treat patients.

So don't go tell me that doctors bring penicillin to patients.

Publication in a scientific journal (aka making something public as the scientists say) is not the be all and end all of effective science, as satisfying as it is to scientific egos.

The most influential scientific publication of  Doctor Martin Henry Dawson was an oral, not printed, account of the first human cases ever treated with systemic penicillin, given at an Annual Meeting of the Society of Clinical Investigators in May 1941 in front of hundreds of the world's leading medical scientists from all over the world.

Did he publicize his work with penicillin ? We laypeople might think so.

Howard Florey, however, sensed a loophole.

 He chose to regard an oral presentation of a paper at an conference, and subsequently published on paper in July 1941, as 'not a scientific publication' and ignored all mention of Dawson's breakthrough in his own references to his subsequent August 1941 paper on penicillin.

Thankfully, Dawson's work got written up in the New York Times ---near the business section --- not a scientific publication, admittedly.

However when the people in charge of the chequebook at Pfizer read it, they saw to it that their Brooklyn Crude penicillin was there to save the wounded on the D-Day beaches and ever after, until the war's end.

Florey continued to publish scientifically on his synthetic penicillin (Oxford Pure)---- but he never actually delivered any.

Pfizer never did publish on its safe, effective Brooklyn Crude.

They just delivered to the beaches, on time, and in quantity.

If you were a soldier in the Princess Louise Regiment (PLF) regiment lying on the Gothic Line, wounded, which would you prefer: British published talk or unpublished American walk ?

Well I was a (post war) member of the PLF and I bloody well know which one I'd prefer.

"OXFORD talks, but BROOKLYN walks..."

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