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Reed, Walter

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 3 months ago


Dr. Walter Reed





"Battling the Yellow Plague"




Personal Life:


Walter Reed was born September 13, 1851, in Belroi, Virginia, just west of Gloucester.  As the son of a Methodist minister, Reed was often moving with his father to different parishes, and thus received a irregular education in the early years of his life.


In 1865, Reed began studying with a personal tutor, and was able to gain entrance into the University of Virginia at age 15. In 1869, Reed and nine other students received their M.D. Soon after leaving medical school, Walter joined the Medical Corps of the United States Army. By 1875, Reed was appointed to the position of Assistant Surgeon. In the same year of being appointed to Assistant Surgeon, Reed married Emilie Lawrence. They birthed two children, Walter Lawrence Reed and Emilie Lawrence Reed.


The United States Army Yellow Fever Commission (1900-1901):


In the early 20th century, scientists were still grappling with the plague of the yellow fever. The disease had affected many in Cuba, and was starting to spread to the southern coast of the United States. Lack of knowledge relating to the cause of yellow fever and its transmission was helping the disease spread faster and kill more people. Troops stationed in Cuba during the Spanish-American War (1898-1902) were in danger of becoming infected with yellow fever. Walter Reed, along with three other physicians, proposed that doing research and experimentation on human beings would lead to a solution to the yellow fever disaster. They formed the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission, under President William McKinley.


      Building Number Two -Mosquitoes (left), Building Number One - Fomites (right)                                  Diagram of experiments conducted in Mosquito Building, No. 2

      http://etext.virginia.edu/healthsci/reed/images/18-090012b.jpg                                                          http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/fever



Camp Lazear - The Experiment:


While doing research in Cuba, Reed established Camp Lazear, where experimentation on humans would take place. In an open field near the Columbia Barracks, Reed designed two small woodframe buildings, each 14 by 20 feet, and raised tents for the accomodation of the volunteer test subjects. Building Number One, called the Infected Clothing Building, was a single room tightly constructed to contain as much foul air as possible. Building Number Two, the Infected Mosquito Building, contained a room divided by floor-to-ceiling mesh screening. The two buildings presented alternate environments, one being clean, and one being dirty.



    http://wrair-www.army.mil/images/YelFever.jpg                                         http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/01095/images/dengue-aedes.jpg


Theories of the 1800s held that yellow fever developed in unclean conditions, and therefore unnecessary sanitation projects were devised. Reed's theory was that yellow fever developed in the environment thought to be the most healthy, not in the most unsanitary. Four immune and nine non-immune individuals were put into quarantine on November 20, 1900. Eventually the total number of test subjects reached 20. The volunteers subjected to the "unsanitary" environment were to sleep on bed linens and sheets used by yellow fever patients. After three trials of twenty days each, none had developed yellow fever.


In Building Two patients were inoculated via mosquitoes. Reed's studies found that the sanitary condition of a room was irrelevant, and that the only thing decontaminating a room with yellow fever was infected mosquitoes. Thus, the old theory of sanitary conditions being the cause of yellow fever was replaced with the idea that yellow fever was contracted and spread by mosquitoes.


Prominence in American History:


Reed continued to speak and publish on yellow fever after his return from Cuba in 1901, and received honorary degrees from Harvard and the University of Michigan for his research. Only a year later Reed's appendix ruptured, and he was not able to receive surgery in enough time before he died of peritonitis.


Walter Reed is prominent in American history because he was the first to establish and research the theory for the causes and transmission of yellow fever. In 1909, congressional legislation authorized the construction of the Walter Reed General Hospital, which quickly developed into the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Walter Reed Health Care System. This health care system offers care to military families in and around Washington, D.C., and in various other facilities. It consists of eight hospitals, located in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. It is also the Army's leading center of clinical research and innovation.


Walter Reed Army Medical Center - Washington, D.C.



Relation to Another Prominent Individual:


Like Walter Reed, Clara Barton also sought to help the medical community during a time of war and during a time of disaster. She, like Walter, was innovative and contributed greatly to their prospective fields of medicine. Walter's field was disease prevention, while Clara's field was nursing. Also, both individuals helped their country by working in the military. Both have left long-lasting effects on the medical community.




List of Sources


Back to List of Prominent Individuals



Page created by: Jacob S.

Avon High School, Avon, Indiana

Date created: 3/21/2008




not 2 deep

Comments (4)

Anonymous said

at 9:10 pm on Mar 23, 2008

Good start Jacob! I like the choice of yellow for your headers. Make sure you are using proper MLA form to cite your sources.

Anonymous said

at 7:02 am on Apr 10, 2008

I agree. Creative use of yellow font. Satisfactory job on his background and his accomplishments. You balanced the two subjects very well. His impact on US history is eminent.

Anonymous said

at 7:36 am on Apr 11, 2008

Walter Reed was a very interesting man. It found it shocking that he got people to volunteer to be his test subjects. He had a lasting impact on American society, as you made very clear. Did you cite your sources, though? Maybe I just missed it.

Anonymous said

at 7:38 pm on Apr 16, 2008

Interesting pictures. Connecting him with Clara Barton was very interesting.

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