Remembering Walter Reed

Saturday, June 17, 1944

Walter ReedThe bags are packed and stacked by the door. We’ll set out early tomorrow, Father’s Day, for the drive to Washington DC. The hospital is named for Walter Reed, MD (1851-1902), the courageous doctor who discovered how typhoid and yellow fever was spread in military camps during the Spanish-American War. People thought it was contaminated clothing but by mosquitoes. After graduating from Bellevue Hospital Medical, he practiced for a time in New York. But he didn’t like city living and in 1875 joined the U. S. Army Medical Corps. He served in remote places in the American West and was sent to Cuba in June 1900 to try to discover the source of yellow fever epidemics. His research paid off. On New Year’s Day 1900, he wrote to his wife: “”[I]t has been permitted to me and my assistants to lift the impenetrable veil that has surrounded the causation of this most dreadful pest of humanity and to put it on a rational and scientific basis. … The prayer that has been mine for twenty or more years, that I might be permitted in some way or sometime to do something to alleviate human suffering has been answered!”

 

 

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