Saturday, September 5, 2015

Aug '43 photo of 3 year old changes the whole world

Her name was Patty Malone, not Aylan Kurdi, but ultimately she also died way too young at age three.

But four months before her quiet death off stage, a single photograph of Patty in her hospital hugging her stuffie captured the hearts of most mothers (and some fathers) all around a war-weary world and literally changed the course of history.

Before Patty and the photograph, wartime penicillin was succeeding as a weapon crafted solely for war - a secret medicine, produced in strictly limited quantities - to be unleashed only when the Allies invaded Europe.

All to get the Allied lightly wounded back into the killing fields before the Axis wounded could, to provide a little manpower advantage to the Allies.

The dying civilians and soldiers of the world were not to get a look see until the war's end.

Canadian-born Dr Henry Dawson opposed that idea from the beginning.

With penicillin his tiny team had made themselves, he acted out his belief that, in a war that was as much moral as material, the Allies had to better the Nazis in the treatment of the weakest members of society at war, not match the Nazis morally on their slide down to Hell.

His ideas were shut out, censored in wartime's published media but even totalitarian regimes could not stop gossip - if fact war censorship makes it flourish all the more.

Dr Dawson was working in Manhattan and soon the entire tight-knit NYC metro area medical gossip mill was rife with talk of Dawson's miraculous success with penicillin in saving the un-saveable.

It quickly spread from doctor and nurse to patient and family - quickly reaching Dr Dante Colitti, an Italian Catholic New Yorker in a hospital only a mile away from Dawson's.

Dante had been viewed as almost un-saveable as a child himself and no New York hospital would hire after his graduation ---- until war staff shortages made it necessary.

So he had no love - to put it mildly ! - for the American medical elite's wartime dictates demanding public silence about penicillin's miracle cures.

He decided to phone America's biggest daily and Heart's flagship, The New York American Journal, begging them to get Washington to release penicillin for one of his hospital's tiny patients dying from a disease penicillin could cure.

Interestingly (and paralleling Dawson's decision to help save SBE patients) Colitti had no business what so ever involving himself with this type of patient - he was a surgeon (and a mere resident) and this was a matter for other types of doctors all together.

His was simply a heartfelt concern for a fellow being, made by a guy about to get married and start having three olds himself.

Think of Dawson and Colitti as being the exact opposite to Canadian PM Stephen Harper, who would shove his own children under the campaign bus, if he calculated it would help him to win re-election.

The Hearst organization really knew how to run an all out newspaper crusade and with days of the photo of Patti in that hospital bed hitting newspaper readers in America, the governments of the whole world knew about the miracle of penicillin and wanted lots of it, yesterday.

Despite wartime censorship, Neutral countries' diplomats in Washington even quickly got the news out to all the Axis countries
as well.

As Dawson had always wanted, wartime penicillin suddenly was produced in mass quantities during the war, to help all the dying soldiers and civilians of Allied nations, the Neutral nations, the Liberated lands and finally the Axis countries as well.

Penicillin remains the best known, best loved medicine in the world.

All because of one photograph of one little three year old.

I hope and pray Aylan Kurdi does the same today for the refugee crisis .....

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