Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #213
… “It would be a good idea to confine everyone to their deck, to keep mixing to a minimum,” Harv suggests…
The subject turns from boats sinking, to young men dying.
“What do you think about some medical experts’ assertion that troop and transport ships are to blame for the outbreak of Spanish influenza?”
“What do I think? As far as I can see, we are damned if we do or damned if we don’t. If we don’t have a million American troops at Argonne, we are not going home right now.” Admiral Sims speaks about an enemy more invisible than the submarine. “I would avoid interviewing the crew. Keep your distance if you do.”
“Good advice. I hear that it is killing one person a day onboard. That’s pretty scary.”
“We have twenty sailors in sick bay as we speak. I’m told they are bad off.” He takes off his cap, running his hands through his graying hair. “And we are only one day out to sea.”
“It would be a good idea to confine everyone to their deck, to keep mixing to a minimum,” Harv suggests.
“Did you hear that crewman?” he speaks to the helmsman. “Make an announcement over the loudspeaker. Everyone is to be confined to their deck and avoid physical contact with each other. And tell them not to cough!
“We will figure what to do about the mess hall later. Do you have an idea on how to handle the mess hall, to feed 200 men, scattered all over this boat?” All suggestions would be welcomed.
“Are there any crewmen who have successfully recovered from the influenza?”
“Two, I believe, but I don’t think they want to get sick again.”
“That is the idea. They can’t.” Rear Admiral Sims looks at Harv like he has lost his mind. “No really, we did an article on disease specialists and one of the things they were working on was figuring out, why once a parson has contracted an illness that they seem to be immune from getting sick from that same disease.”
“I see, so they can mingle with the crew!” He gets it. “You would make a great officer, Pearson.”
“I am a little too old to join the Navy.”
“That may be true, but I lost my First Officer to the sickness and I am hereby appointing you second in command.”
“I’m not very fond of uniforms… no offense intended.”
“Since we are going to spend the next eight days on the bridge, I am going to need your help, if you are wearing a uniform or not.”