Flu Epidemic of 1918 II

Lead: Contracted from pigs, in 1918 influenza began to spread through U.S. troops called up for service in World War I. Soon the disease had become an epidemic that spread through a world population already weakened by four years of war.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Many experts believe the flu virus exists naturally in birds and is then transmitted to pigs where it mutates into a virulent form that in an infected human body causes fever, chills, weakness of the muscles and nausea. The virus makes its way through the air to its victim’s respiratory apparatus. It is a swift, clever, and sometimes deadly agent, a survivor of great tenacity. Influenza requires little more than a population weakened by hunger, other diseases, or war, to transform itself from a localized irritant to an epidemic of global proportions. In 1918 the world was ripe for the picking. 

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Flu Epidemic of 1918 I

Lead: A case of the flu is considered by most people a minor irritant, the subject of humor, the excuse to take off a day or two from work, one of those occasional hardships of life that must be endured. In the winter of 1918, however, the flu was no joke.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Influenza is a virus, a clever survivor, ever vigilant for opportunities to mutate and spread. Many experts believe that the flu virus lives harmlessly in birds. On occasion flu viruses from birds infect pigs, whose immune system then attacks the virus, causing it to mutate. The new virus created in this process is then passed to humans and, depending on the conditions, an outbreak may not be far behind.

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History’s Turning Points: The Black Death II

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Among history’s turning points: Consider the results of the Black Death.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After the arrival of the bubonic plague in the 1340s, the people of Europe did not know what was consuming them. This ignorance spawned great acts of courage and compassion, particularly among the clergy, but also near barbaric brutality. Many people blamed the Jews, specifically for poisoning the drinking water. Christian civility went out the window and thousands of Jews were murdered. According to one source, 16,000 were killed in 1349 in Strasbourg alone. Many fled to Poland where in the 20th Century their descendants would be consumed in another Holocaust of human origin.

History’s Turning Points: The Black Death I

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. We examine history’s turning points: Consider the Black Death.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In early October 1347, a ship left the city of Caffa in Southern Russia, bound for the Sicilian port of Messina. Along with its cargo it played host to its usual compliment of migratory black rats. They in turn were infested with tiny fleas bearing the deadly bacillus, identified finally in 1800s as pasteurella pestis, the bubonic plague.

Dorothea Dix II

Lead: A chance encounter in the East Cambridge Jail in 1841 gave Dorothea Dix a cause to pursue, a focus for her intellect and considerable energy, and a passion which would consume her for the rest of her life.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Dorothea Dix, daughter of an alcoholic itinerant minister, but granddaughter of a prominent and wealthy Boston physician, in her early years was a devout Christian. She believed her affluent, cultured upbringing and her faith placed powerful requirements on her life. She felt compelled into a life of service to those in society less fortunate, less wealthy, less healthy, less indulged than she.

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Dorothea Dix I

Lead: She came from a life of wealth and social prominence, but Dorothea Dix devoted her life to good causes, especially helping to improve the treatment of the mentally ill.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Dorothea Dix’s early years were not happy. Her father was the estranged son of a prominent Boston family. An alcoholic who suffered religious delusions, Joseph Dix barely kept his family out of starvation. Dorothy refused to live in such conditions and eventually, at the age of twelve, fled to Boston where she lived with relatives for the next several years.

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Mary Walker

Lead: Brilliant, stubborn, and independent, Mary Walker led the way in more ways than simple fashion.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: “Why don’t you wear proper clothing? That toggery is neither one thing nor the other!” General William Tecumseh Sherman to Mary Walker, who was the first woman to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. In her long life Mary Charles Walker rarely bent to society’s demands. She became one of the first women physicians in the U.S., served as an army combat surgeon, and was a life-long participant in the fight for women’s rights. Women need two things, she thought, the right to vote and the right to wear any clothes they desire. She was almost always wore trousers.

First Human Heart Transplantation I

Lead: In December 1967, surgeons in South Africa performed the first human heart transplant. 53-year-old Lewis Washkansky survived for 18 days.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The work of Dr. Christiaan Barnard in transplanting the heart of 25-year-old auto accident victim Denise Durvall into Washkansky built on more than two centuries of experimentation in immunology and surgery. This progress was enhanced by the late 19th-century work on antibodies by Paul Ehrlich, the blood typing research of Karl Landsteiner in 1900, and Ilya Metchnikoff’s theory of host rejection.