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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/269

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WALTER REED.

Application was made to General Leonard Wood, the military governor of Cuba, for permission to conduct experiments on non-immune persons, and a liberal sum of money requested for the purpose of rewarding volunteers who would submit themselves to experiment. It was, indeed, fortunate that the military governor of Cuba was a man who by his breadth of mind and special scientific training could readily appreciate the arguments of Major Reed as to the value of the proposed work. Money and full authority to proceed were promptly granted, and to the everlasting glory of the American soldier, volunteers from the army offered themselves for experiment in plenty, and with the utmost fearlessness.

Before the arrangements were entirely completed, Dr. Carroll, a member of the commission, allowed himself to be bitten by a mosquito that twelve days previously had filled itself with the blood of a yellow fever patient. He suffered from a very severe attack, and his was the first experimental case. Dr. Lazear also experimented on himself at the same time, but was not infected. Some days later, while in the yellow fever ward, he was bitten by a mosquito and noted the fact carefully. He acquired the disease in its most terrible form and died a martyr to science, and a true hero. No other fatality occurred among the brave men who, in the course of the experiments, willingly exposed themselves to the infection of the dreaded disease.

A camp was especially constructed for the experiments about four miles from Havana, christened Camp Lazear in honor of the dead comrade. The inmates of the camp were put into most rigid quarantine and ample time was allowed to eliminate any possibility of the disease being brought in from Havana. The personnel consisted of three nurses and nine non-immunes, all in the military service, and included two physicians.

From time to time Spanish immigrants, newly arrived, were brought in directly from the immigrant station; a person not known to be immune was not allowed to leave camp, or if he did, was forbidded to return. The most complete record was kept of the health of every man to be experimented upon, thus eliminating the possibility of any other disease than yellow fever complicating the case.

The mosquitoes used were specially bred from the eggs and kept in a building screened by wire netting. When an insect was wanted for an experiment it was taken into a yellow fever hospital and allowed to fill itself with the blood of a patient; afterward at varying intervals from the time of this meal of blood it was purposely applied to nonimmunes in camp. In December five cases of the disease were developed as the result of such applications; in January, three, and in February, two, making in all ten, exclusive of the cases of Drs. Carroll and Lazear. Immediately upon the appearance of the first recognized symptoms of the disease, in any one of these experimental cases, the patient was taken from Camp Lazear to a yellow fever hospital, one