Auction Report: A Patek Philippe Pocket Watch Honoring A Medical Professional Who Fought A Pandemic At The Turn Of The 20th Century

Even with the complex demands of wartime, Dr. Blue managed to expand the role of the Public Health Service and mobilize the Volunteer Medical Service Corps. On October 5, 1918, Dr. Blue gave an order that had a dramatic impact on the spread of the Spanish Flu: He ordered that all schools, theaters, saloons, restaurants, and any place of public gathering shut down. This was at a time when science wasn’t at all what it is today. It was a bold move. As the pandemic wound down, Dr. Blue wrote in a letter to fellow medical professional and Colonel of the Officers’ Reserve Corps Dr. William Welch, “The present epidemic has demonstrated the imperative need of a permanent organization, within the Public Health Service, available with each emergency.” Unfortunately, his plea did little to increase research and preparedness, as the country was still reeling from the suffering endured during World War I. 

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