Thursday, July 25, 2013

Aktion 4F : something done to 4Fs, rather than something done for 4Fs ?

For years, I have thought and written of Dr Henry Dawson's efforts to try and save the lives of young SBE patients ,"The 4Fs of the 4Fs" , as if it was a sort of counterpoint to Nazi Germany's efforts to kill similar chronically ill people, the infamous Aktion T4 campaign.

His own Aktion 4F as a sort of counterblast to their Aktion T4.

But Dawson wasn't actually directly opposing the German Nazis' murderously utilitarian disposal of humans judged useless consumers of badly needed resources in a Total War.

He was combating similar notions held by the powerful in the Anglo-American medical establishment.

The OSRD , the NAS and the MRC all judged SBE to be a "militarily unimportant disease" and refused to allow any penicillin be diverted to saving its patients.

This despite Dawson demonstrating over and over that penicillin was the only thing that could cure this hitherto invariably fatal disease dubbed "the Polio of the Poor".

So in a way, the Allied treatment of the SBE 4Fs , along with their diverting penicillin away from badly wounded frontline troops in the Mediterranean towards otherwise fit soldiers who had deliberately contracted VD to avoid combat , could be see as exact counterparts to how the Nazis behaved in similar medical situations.

(For example, secretly killing Eastern Front soldiers rendered permanently mentally ill in combat to free up medical beds and supplies for soldiers judged able to return to battle eventually.)

In which case, the co-ordinated campaign , around the Allied world , from the US to Canada to Britain to Australia , to deny penicillin to SBE cases, can be seen as being the true Aktion 4F.

Food for thought....

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