WASHINGTON D.C. – The name Elisha Cullen Dick is likely lost on most Americans. It’s certainly lost on anyone who dozed through their 10th grade American History class. But just imagine how different things would be for Dr. Elisha C. Dick if modern mainstream media was around in 1799 as George Washington fought his final battle against a respiratory inflammation.
The headlines might read:
“QUACK SUGGESTS SLICING GEN. WASHINGTON’S THROAT”
“MEDICAL EXPERTS AGREE: BLEEDING THE BEST WAY TO QUELL QUINSY”
“STEADY HANDS OVERRULE ‘UPSTART’ IN EFFORT TO SAVE PRESIDENT”
The “upstart” in Washington’s fatal case was the aforementioned Dr. Dick. In his story, there’s a lesson we might do well to heed today.
Dick was one of three physicians (along with Drs James Craik and Gustavas R. Brown) who were summoned to care for the former President as his health suddenly took a disastrous turn for the worse. What started on the morning of December 13 as a bad cold with a fever, had turned into a severe throat inflammation by the time the three doctors arrived. Craik and Brown thought it might have been “quinsy”, though acute bacterial epiglottitis, acute laryngitis and possibly pneumonia may have all been at play here.
Realizing that the protocols of the day weren’t working on the fast-fading former President, Dick suggested performing a tracheotomy – a then-novel procedure – which would have certainly helped Washington’s belabored breathing and might have even saved his life. Sadly, Craik and Brown – both senior to Dick and unfamiliar with the new technique – dismissed Dick’s suggestion, and Washington died the night of December 14, 1799.
No doubt, the 5 pints of blood which were drained from the Father of Our Country in a mad effort to relieve his symptoms only hastened his demise.
I thought about Dr. Dick last night as I watched a 34-minute highlight reel of a recent round-table called, “A Second Opinion.”
Chaired by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), “A Second Opinion” was a five-hour forum of scientists, doctors, nurses, health advocates, legal eagles and other concerned parties, who have serious questions about the way the Covid-19 crisis has been handled here in the U.S.
Not that finding anything positive by Sen. Johnson (and many of his invitees) is all that easy. Remember, this is the same Sen. Johnson who sent Twitter into a tizzy last summer, when he hosted a similar forum in Milwaukee documenting disturbing tales of alleged Covid-19 vaccine injuries.
But it wasn’t just Twitter deriding the forums.
When you search “Ron Johnson, Covid” on YouTube, you get hits like:
YouTube bans U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson from uploading videos for 7 days
(WISN 12 News)
Senator pushes conspiracy about athletes’ responses to Covid vaccine (CNN)
‘Truly, madly, deeply false’: Keilar fact-checks Ron Johnson’s vaccine claims (CNN)
Debunked: Pro athletes are NOT dropping dead because of the Covid-19 vaccine (CNN)
ER Doc: Everything Ron Johnson Says About Vaccines Is Wrong (The 11th Hour | MSNBC)
Clearly, whatever flames Johnson and his witnesses have been fanning are creating calls to turn out the entire fire brigade!
It’s hard to encapsulate five hours worth of smoldering testimony. Harder still to grapple with the raw emotions of people who have experienced professional reprisal, censorship and intimidation.
People whose integrity have been called into question. People who feel as though they are wearing a metaphorical yellow star. People who have been cut to the core by the loss of self-determination, and by the losses of livelihood, loved ones, community, personal health and reputations.
Consider the hospital nurse who witnessed firsthand the fallout of ineffectual treatments and was subsequently fired from her job for refusing the mandated brew. Or the Pulmonary chief who was told by his hospital overlords that he could not prescribe certain compounds – including vitamin C – to his ailing patients.
Consider the outspoken critical care doctor who wonders why inexpensive, off-label medications that have effectively been used around the world for fighting Covid, are roundly mocked by the American media. Or the research scientist who admits the politicization of the pandemic has forced him to re-think his own political views.
Then, there is the mourning Ph.D. whose own father fell victim to hospital protocols; the world-class cyclist who can’t race anymore because of damage to his heart; the heavily redacted FOI requests; the squelched scientific studies; the…, well, you get the picture. One pathologist — who is currently under fire — even said the adverse reaction he has personally experienced is: “I’ve been attacked for being a good doctor.”
Let me just add here that I hope our readers will forgive me for not mentioning any of those witnesses by name. Sadly, spelling certain names out is reason enough to get a piece such as this “fact-checked” into oblivion. Think I’m kidding? Watch the algorithmic flags fly on this story simply at the mention of Sen. You-know-who.
Rather than say more about the round-table testimony, allow us to let the witnesses speak for themselves. Not as a ringing endorsement, mind you. We hardly feel qualified to vouch to the verity of what these empathic people of applied science are alleging. But we offer this platform because what has happened (and continues to unfold) affects each and every one of us. And every American (largely thanks to George Washington) has a right to be heard on matters of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
Ultimately, history will judge where we all stand in this critical debate. It will also judge those who have worked mercilessly to marginalize their fellow man.
Nearly a decade after George Washington’s death, Elisha Dick wrote a letter to the editor of a Philadelphia medical journal, reflecting on his rejected plan of action on the day Gen. Washington passed away. Dick said in part:
“I know not what might have been the result and it would be presumption to pronounce upon it; but I shall never cease to regret that the operation was not performed.”
Dr. Gustavus Brown apparently had his lingering regrets, too.
On January 21, 1800, Brown wrote to Dr. James Craik:
Sir: I have lately met Dr. Dick again in consultation and high opinion that I formed of him when we were in conference last month, concerning the situation Of our Illustrious friend, has been confirmed. You remember how, by his clear reasoning and evident knowledge of the cause of certain symptoms after the examination of the General, he assured us that it was not really quinsy, which we supposed it to be, but a violent inflammation of the membranes of the throat, which it had almost closed, and which if not immediately arrested would result in his death. You must remember he was averse to bleeding the General, and I have often thought that if we had acted accordingly to his suggestion, when he said, “he needs all his strength – bleeding will diminish it”, and taken no more blood from him, our good friend might have been alive now. But we were governed by the best light we had: we thought we were right, and so we were justified.
©Copyright 2022 Baltimore Post-Examiner. All Rights Reserved
Anthony C. Hayes is an actor, author, raconteur, rapscallion and bon vivant. A one-time newsboy for the Evening Sun and professional presence at the Washington Herald, Tony’s poetry, photography, humor, and prose have also been featured in Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore!, Destination Maryland, Magic Octopus Magazine, Los Angeles Post-Examiner, Voice of Baltimore, SmartCEO, Alvarez Fiction, and Tales of Blood and Roses. If you notice that his work has been purloined, please let him know. As the Good Book says, “Thou shalt not steal.”