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The Grog. A Journal of Navy Medical History and Culture. Issue 44

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Journal Article

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Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Falls Church United States

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From the end of the nineteenth century to the start of the Great War, tuberculosis, aka TB, was the second leading cause of death in the U.S. Navy, just after drowning. Across the United States, the TB contagion regularly killed one in every ten Americans and in 1900 alone combined with pneumonia, dysentery and enteritis to account for one out of every three deaths in this country. There is no denying that TB was a public health threat for this nation and throughout the world. But before the advent of antibiotics, very little could be done to eradicate the disease. In the early twentieth century the U.S. Navy Medical Department sought new measures for treating its TB population. Partly inspired by the work of a tubercular physician in the Adirondack mountains and a new method of treatment he popularized, the Navy established a special hospital in a landlocked state that served only tubercular Sailors and Marines. In our cover story we look back on the history this institution, Naval Hospital Fort Lyon. We follow this story with an eclectic lineup of articles from the latest installment of our year in review series to a look back at the problem of Paddy Foot in the Vietnam War. In our oral history section we present first-hand accounts of independent hospital corps duty in the South Pole and the curious, but true tale of how a sigmoidoscope was used to save a disabled aircraft carrier. As always, we hope you enjoy this tour of the high seas of Navy Medicines past

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