Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oct 16 1940 : the disease was MODERNITY

A marvellously effective drug lay on a British shelf, unused, for twelve long years --- 'a miracle cure in search of a disease' --- on October 16th 1940 in a Manhattan hospital it finally found it : the disease was MODERNITY and the cure was penicillin.

The nominal disease Dr Martin Henry Dawson was seeking to cure that day (almost exactly 70 years ago) with the first ever needleful of the antibiotic penicillin was SBE, an invariably fatal calcination of the heart valves.

 However the real disease he was seeking to heal was modern utilitarianism, aka stone-heartedness.

Neither Fleming or Florey - to put it mildly - were up for this job.

In a few weeks,Dawson discovered he himself was dying as well but he felt duty-bound to carry on helping the helpless and the hopeless, despite a 'Total War' atmosphere which assigned 'useless mouths' like the SBEs to baneful neglect --- or worse.

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