Tag Archives: Rhode Island

Mary Niles and the Canton rats

Edward McSweegan Kinston, Rhode Island, United States   Doctor Mary West Niles, Wikipedia  Bubonic plague arrived in Honolulu in December 1899. A month later it had spread to San Francisco, where the infection caused a series of deadly outbreaks until 1907.1 But for decades before plague reached the American west coast, it had burned through […]

African American contract doctors in the military

Edward McSweegan Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   African American Soldiers in Cuba, 1898, Wikipedia In the spring of 1898, the United States rushed into a war with Spain but lacked adequate troops, training, weapons, transport, supplies, food, landing craft, and medical personnel. One deficit that could be corrected before the shooting started was the […]

The Schoolhouse Lab

Edward McSweegan Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   Howard T. Ricketts in Mexico City laboratory. National Library of Medicine “Black measles” was a common name for spotted fever, which regularly killed people in the western United States. Symptoms included a spotty rash on the extremities, fever, chills, headache, and photophobia. No one knew what caused […]

The hunt for a yellow fever therapy

Edward McSweegen Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   Roux’s syringe for delivering antitoxin, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia  Source In March 2020, a research group in China reported the use of convalescent plasma to treat ten patients suffering from coronavirus COVID-19 infections.1 This type of therapy—passive immunization—dates back to 1891 when the German bacteriologist Emil […]

What can physicians learn from Benjamin Rush, blood, and the Red Cross?

Ryan Hill Jamestown, Rhode Island, United States   Portrait by Charles Willson Peale, Benjamin Rush, circa 1818. Independence National Historical Park. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. Despite the adamant opposition he encountered from many of his contemporaries, Dr. Benjamin Rush was undeterred; he was certain that bloodletting was the most prudent of all medical procedures and remained […]

“The Blood Battle”: using science to combat the fear of blood

Kayla Peña Providence, Rhode Island   U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcy Copeland/Released. Public Domain. Forty years ago, the University of Michigan and Ohio State University competed in their first “Blood Battle.” Although typically known for their football rivalry, in 1982 the universities decided to expand their competition to see which school could […]