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    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    Medical Men of History: Here's an obscure former army surgeon with an interesting history - Dr. Leonard Wood:

    Born of impoverished Mayflower descendants in 1860, Wood grew up in rural Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard Medical School. He was fired for insubordination from his hospital internship and had no choice but to sign up as an assistant Army surgeon in 1885. His first assignment was in the still-wild West, where he took part in an expedition to recapture renegade Apaches led by Geronimo.

    In an epic feat of endurance, a small number of troopers covered more than 3,000 miles, mostly on foot. Wood emerged as an iron man who could not be stopped by lack of food, extremes of heat and cold, or even a spider bite that left his leg badly infected. His feats of endurance won him a Medal of Honor and an officer's commission.

    Before long, he wound up in Washington, where he showed a talent for making friends such as President Grover Cleveland and Assistant Navy Secretary Theodore Roosevelt. When war broke out with Spain in 1898, the restless surgeon seized a chance to leave his medical career behind. He became commander of the First Volunteer Cavalry, the Rough Riders, with Roosevelt as his No. 2.


    After that, he served as governor of Santiago City in Cuba:

    As befits a medical man, Wood's most impressive achievement was his war on tropical disease. He began by cleaning up unsanitary conditions, at gunpoint if necessary, and ended up by supporting a medical commission whose investigations found that yellow fever and malaria were spread by mosquitoes. In 1900, more than 1,000 people died of malaria in Havana; within a few years not a single death was recorded.

    He tried to run for president, too, but lost the primary maneuvering to Warren G. Harding.
     

    posted by sydney on 12/07/2005 08:40:00 AM 1 comments

    1 Comments:

    He has a key Army base named after him in Missouri.

    By Anonymous Scott, at 8:48 AM  

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