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Penicillin

Photo Credit: Prince Henry Hospital Museum, NSW, Australia



Subj:  True Story

Date:  2/20/2001  9:45:43PM, Eastern Standard Time
From: TAMcG
To:  xxx@glynnis
CC:  TAMcG

Dear Glynnis, In 1944 as an intern assigned to the pediatric ward I had a 10 year old girl admitted very ill with a high fever and chest pain. With tests we established the diagnosis of sub-acute bacterial endocarditis. This was an infection of the valves of the heart and was always fatal. Penicillin had just become available. However, penicillin was reserved and controlled by the military services for the soldiers during the world war. We were able to get some to treat this child. She was given shots every three hours around the clock for at least ten days until she was cured. The privilege of being a part of the miracle of the success of antibiotic therapy for the life of this child I shall never forget. The miracles of medical progress continue in giant steps forward. We are all blessed and have greatly increased life expectancy accordingly.

Love,
Granddad

I recently came across a paper copy of the above email from my father, Dr. Thomas A. McGavin, to his granddaughter, 10 year old Glynnis Eldridge, who had experienced her own medical miracle as an infant. I have always wondered who the little girl in the story was and what became of her after her recovery and if she knew how much her recovery meant to my father.

--Jean McGavin

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