Polio Voices: An Oral History from the American Polio by Julie K. Silver

By Julie K. Silver

Incorporating many infrequent pictures from the relatives albums of survivors who inform their tales, Harvard professor Julie Silver, M.D., and historian Daniel Wilson support readers comprehend the sheer terror that gripped mom and dad of children each spring and summer season throughout the first half the 20 th century as polio epidemics ran rampant. Interviewed as a part of the Polio Oral heritage undertaking directed by means of Silver and funded through Harvard, foundations, and personal donors, the folks featured during this e-book describe what's arguably the main feared scourge of contemporary occasions. stories are incorporated from those who labored in polio wards, in addition to from these serious about all over the world eradication efforts. The booklet additionally addresses the emergence of the polio and incapacity rights circulate, the demanding situations of post-polio syndrome, and the nation of polio examine and advancements at the present time. And it explores the fear that polio may well go back in a fair extra vicious shape because of bioterrorism.

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Additional info for Polio Voices: An Oral History from the American Polio Epidemics and Worldwide Eradication Efforts (The Praeger Series on Contemporary Health and Living)

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My father tended to be sort of quiet, gracious, avoid conflict; although, he certainly had his share of conflict. In terms of the rivalry between them, on a public health level was the question as to which vaccine was more effective. My father always felt that the killed virus vaccine by itself had the capacity to contain polio. What he felt and worked very hard at, was that once wild virus polio was not around, in the United States, there were a small number of five or six vaccine-associated cases associated with the live virus vaccine.

He had many more responsibilities. He was very preoccupied with a lot more complicated things. As a child, I was completely aware of polio. We visited the Watson Home for crippled children outside Pittsburgh, and those were the children who were the first human beings who received the polio vaccine in some preclinical trials. I did not have any sort of personal fear of the disease. Fear was prevalent everywhere, but it was never something that I lived with. After the vaccine, we went down to Warm Springs, Georgia.

But with relief there was a new adjustment. One had to breathe according to the machine’s dictates; the rate of respiration was determined by the doctor who adjusted the machine. Patients quickly discovered they could talk only when the machine expelled air from their lungs and conversations became disjointed. Many also discovered that they were completely paralyzed and unable to move a muscle voluntarily. They couldn’t scratch an itch, move to a more comfortable position, cover or uncover themselves, feed themselves, or take a drink of water.

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