Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #275

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #275

…with the war over, there is babies being made left and right… and up, down and sideways…

post-war_Baby-Boom_577

Just then, two cars pull up to 224 Virginia Street. Ten professional looking men jump out of the eight doors, enthusiastically. They are anxious to see just what their colleague has been doing with his spare time.–

          –At the same time that the ten black staff physicians, some on, some off duty, check out another venue in which to uphold their oath of healing, there is a spur-of-the-moment meeting of the Florida A & M Hospital board of directors, called by the advisory board chairman, J. Leonard Lewis, who happens to be a backdoor relative of banker Lewis. That in itself inserts a stench into the coming proceedings.

“What are we going to do about Campbell’s hospital?” He opens with a very pointed question.

“What do you mean by that, J.L.,” asks Vernon L. Perry, taken aback by the tone.

V.L. –  J.L. –  A.O. –  A&M  –  L.B.M.H. – Abbreviation City.

“Here we are, understaffed as it is and a third of our doctors are AWOL, being courted by that Baby Boomrenegade Campbell!” He cannot hide his bitterness. “Look, V.L., with the war over, there is babies being made left and right… and up, down and sideways. We can’t afford to lose any one of them. Unlike Tallahassee Memorial, we are a predominantly black facility.”

Perry is just as aware of the influx of births as Lewis, but he is a friend of A.O. Campbell and he knows there is no intended competition. Rather, what is being lost in this shuffle of egos is that most of the babies Campbell will deliver would have been probably turned away at the university or delivered in a non sterile environment by a midwife.

“You don’t actually believe that he will cut into our revenue, do you?”

“He won’t charge as much as us. Don’t you think people over there in Frenchtown will find out?”

“I don’t see how doing mostly what we would consider charity work, is going to be a threat,” adds a new voice in the discussion. Mrs. John Phipps, widow of a prominent Tallahassean, turned philanthropist, discerns no menace from the diminutive doctor from Virginia Street. “He gave up a good job to pursue his dream.”

“He shouldn’t impose his dream on the other doctors.”

“You don’t get it, do you? We are not going to lose any of our staff to Campbell,” states Perry. “Anything they do is on their own time.”

blacklist

“There is one thing you don’t get, V.L. Does the name, Charles Wilson ring a bell?” The room falls silent. They are well aware that a high percentage of their operating expenses are funded by Wilson’s charitable foundation and his certain friends of a like mind. You can guess who is in control and what nefarious agendas the whole of them undertake.

“Hello?” Lewis prods.

The dissenting majority has a feeling that their poker hand has just been trumped. Wilson is a wild card none of them can top.

“I think my point has been made, folks. Our policy toward working outside Florida A & M Hospital is about to be enforced.”

… Or made up…

Letter B.Letter S.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #275


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #274

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #274

…Campbell hopes to have any of his colleagues from Florida A & M Hospital, who would like to practice out of LBMH, do so…

Loving Hold

Loving Hold by Marla Oliphant

“You haven’t stopped movin’ since you got back from Mayo,” complains Maggie Campbell. He continues Vertical-001Vertical-001his flitting around, having done it for the entire year leading up to the completion of LBMH. This time, an equally busy man covered with powdery white dust, gets his attention.

“The second floor won’t be finished for another week, Doctor Campbell,” reports the general contractor for the Laura Bell Memorial Hospital.

  “We’re goin’ to have a reception this Friday, whether you’re finished or not. I would appreciate you makin’ sure there ain’t a mess on the first floor. I expect maybe fifty people or more and I will need the room.”

“Don’t you worry bout a thing, Doc; I’ll make sure the guys clean up good. Heck we won’t be doin’ anything on Friday anyway, mostly waiting on those special doors you need.”

“As long as there is a front door, Laura Bell Memorial Hospital will be open for business on Saturday. My Project 18-001In fact, I’m having a group of doctors over this afternoon for a tour.” Campbell hopes to have any of his colleagues from Florida A & M Hospital, who would like to practice out of LBMH, do so. There is such a great need for health care in the back streets of Frenchtown, no one doctor should shoulder the load, let alone the expense, of treating the less fortunate. It is his noble cause, but he also hopes that the other black physicians will eagerly take up the call. “Maggie, would you drop in our nurses, make sure they will be at the reception. Have you seen the trucking company yet? Those stainless steel examinin’ tables should have come in from Pittsburgh already.”

BOOK PIC NURSES 001

A.O & his Nursing Staff

“Alpha Campbell, you’re actin’ like a mother hen, I swear. You know Lilly Chevis is my best friend and head nurse. I think she has the girls ready. Let the good Lord take care of the details and you take care of those doctor friends of yours. I had Cook make two big pitchers of lemonade, oh and some of those finger sandwiches you like so much.”

“Oh, Maggie, I don’t know what I’d do without you.” True enough. Without her inheritance from John Ferrell, thirty or so years ago, there is no huge house, no chauffeur driven Cadillac, no servants, no parties at the country club; just the prestige of being a respected physician. And the hospital? Forget about it. They would be living on love and not much more, which is not so bad, because that is just what they actually share. It just so happens they get a new car every year, has four people on their household staff and they have their very own hospital right across their driveway.

“Let’s get this thing going, Alpha.” She spreads her arms out to encompass the entire whiteness of LBMH. “Maybe you will be able to deliver our first grandchild here. Laura tells me that she and Franklin are tryin, to have a baby.”

“That would be somethin’ Maggie!”


Alpha Omega M.D.

"God is Like a Mother Hen" Mosaic from the church of Dominus Flevit - Jerusalem

“God is Like a Mother Hen” Mosaic from the church of Dominus Flevit – Jerusalem

Episode #274


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #270

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #270

I have invited every black doctor in Tallahassee to use the hospital and we will be able to treat folks, even if they don’t have no money to pay…

My Project 18-001

“Yep. I believe my doctorin’ began with my carin’ for a bird with a busted wing.” And now he is on the brink of having his Laura Bell Memorial Hospital become a reality. He can only have fond memories for the days he spent around Herbert Love, without whose love, guidance and support his very own health care facility would have remained a dream. Chances are that instead of being a doctor he would be working for the new owners of Love Dairy & Ice, taking up his father’s craft of cigar making; Honorable work, but paling in comparison to the life he Love's-001has been blessed with. Now, it is the Herbert & Phoebe Love Foundation that helps LBMH become a reality.

“You will be able to save a lot of birds with a 24-bed clinic, Doc.” Lawyer James proclaims.

“Hospital!”

“Excuse my ignorance.”

I have invited every black doctor in Tallahassee to use the hospital. We will be able to treat folks, even if they don’t have no money to pay. No one should go on sick just because they can’t afford a doctor.”

“I admire your benevolence, but you must keep in mind that you will be spending one-half of that $300,000 of your own money. And the bank will expect to be repaid for what they have lent you. And old man Lewis is not known for forgiving any amount of money owed him.”

  “I’ll be a chargin’ folks James, believe me, but only ones who have it.” A.O. is quite aware of his finances, especially as it applies to his wife. Even with the girls out the door and married, Maggie Lou continues to find ways to spend… and spend and spend some more. “But I haveta give up my day job, though I told at A&M that I can fill in a pinch.”

  “Don’t get me wrong, Doc, it’s just that I am not the type person to lay out that amount for a building. You’re exposing yourself, man! You could be cruising on to retirement, instead, your retirement money is going into that polly-annahospital. Couldn’t you work out of your house first?”

  “Can’t treat whites out my house. I’m hopin’ they will let me set up some white beds.”

“Good luck with that.” There is a sarcastic tone to his voice. He continues to be amazed at A.O. Campbell’s Pollyanna views on race relations. He has the unique ability to block out persistent injustices, choosing to focus on ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybe somedays’. Maybe he is on to something, after all. “You know, Alpha, I hear they are looking for an ambassador to represent the US at the United Nations. You would be perfect for the job.”

 “Shucks, James, I’m just another country doctor, not a ‘bassador.”

“He is a country doctor, with the foundation of his own hospital being dug as we speak.” James will never cease to be amazed at the world of Alpha Omega Campbell. Nothing about him is just plain ordinary, yet nearly child-like in his simplicity.

“Speakin’ of today, I got to get packed for the Mayo Clinic.” Every couple of years, A.O. heads north to keep current in his medicine.

“There you go, Alpha. Clinic is good enough for the Mayos.”

“They have clinics in Minnesota, we have hospitals in Florida.”

How can you argue with that?


Alpha Omega M.D.

Pollyanna book cover by Tamzyn Leigh

Pollyanna book cover by Tamzyn Leigh

Episode #270


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #220

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #220

Chapter Twelve

CARELESS WHISPERS

…Doctor A.O. Campbell has as much experience on the front line as anyone there, but the entire group is still shaken by the epidemic, having fought the same disease tooth and nail, from every conceivable angle…

New England in Winter

Winter in New England

  ‘What am I doing in Boston in January? asks Dr. A.O Campbell of himself, not particularly waiting for an answer. Had he bothered to respond aloud, he would have said: ‘I’m back at my alma mater, Tufts University Medical School for a symposium on the Spanish influenza and related infectious virus and bacteria’, or something thereabouts, but likely less formal.

It is the first time he has returned to the school since graduating in 1913. Every five years or so, doctors are required to demonstrate that they are staying current, in a field that is progressing as fast as any sector of post war America. There was a time when, thirty or more years ago, when medicine was less technical and more speculative, with certain practicing doctors being graduates of dubious institutions. Snake oils and herbs were used to treat diseases and illnesses with nondescript names like, consumption and the rickets. Anesthesia consisted of either biting down hard on a rag or a bottle of whiskey.

So in the interest of science, young Dr. Campbell, about to celebrate his thirtieth birthday, chugs up the East coast, which sports a blanket of fresh white snow from about Washington north. Floridians are not used to this kind of cold, never seeming to be prepared for these type conditions, even a doctor who should have better sense. His teeth will chatter until he is able to purchase something more substantial than a summer suit of clothes.

It was not the most exciting three days he will spend in 1919, but it was nice to stroll around the granite buildings again. As discussions go among physicians, this gathering is useful, as well as fruitful. There are ideas to be exchanged and the experiences in the field to be related. Doctor A.O. Campbell had as much experience on the front line as anyone there, but the entire group is still shaken by the epidemic, having fought the same disease tooth and nail, from every conceivable angle. A good doctor will learn every day of his or her career. That is what makes a good doctor.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Boston Victory Parade by Charles H. Woodbury

Episode #220


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #214

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #214

…There were as nearly as many burials at sea than had they been sunk…

Deaths ships-001

‘Masters of the Seas’ by William Lionel Wyllie (Text added)

Judith Eastman and Mary Pickford do not put 10 miles behind them on the way to California, when a telegram arrives at the Pearson-Eastman residence. No one is home. It goes undelivered. Had she been there, as Harv had assumed, the piece of yellow paper would have read:

My Project 17-001

MY DEAREST JUDITH  stop  HAVE LEFT PARIS  stop SHOULD ARRIVE NEW YORK 10/7  stop  CANNOT WAIT TO HOLD YOU  stop  LOVE HARV  end

He will regret not sending the telegram from Paris.

In spite of the coming missed communications, so begins an, albeit, short career as a naval officer aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Chesapeake Bay at the age of 63. Those eight days were gratefully uneventful, at least below the waterline.

Above it, it was another story. There were as nearly as many burials at sea than had they been sunk, or so it seemed. The deck by deck segregation worked for a couple of days, but the devil’s disease finally took hold of the Chesapeake, racing from one sailor to the next. The pattern of taking those in their prime, 20 to 30 years old holds true, men who are or would have been husbands and fathers.

Had they had to go to battle stations, a number of stations would have gone unmanned, such was the carnage. They were a floating sitting duck.

  Word from the other ships in the convoy varies. They seem to be the worse-off naval vessel–it could not get much worse. While the troop-transports hold their own, they are ticking time bombs, likely infectious to anyone who comes in contact with them in the States.

The Chesapeake medical officer finally had the good sense to issue every last surgical mask to those who remain, realizing that one does not have to touch a carrier individual, that it is a dreaded airborne virus; the best possible method of transmission.


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Episode #214


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #213

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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…

Pandemic

Writer/director JOHN DRYDEN

As Harv and the ship commander chat, 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?”

American Troops Embarking, Southampton, 1918 by Sir John Lavery

“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.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Influenza WWI

Episode #213


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #209

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #209

…Mentor and friend Doc Ziggy is felled by a simple act of compassion, unnecessary risk for the sake of healing; a trait passed on to a willing and eager student…

Ziggy-001

So A.O. Campbell is compelled and propelled into the front line of a serious domestic battle. As one day turns into two, three patients swelling to ten, he is joined by doctors Clifton Moor and J. Kenty Johnson, both of whom already spend their days looking down the lenses of a microscope and are anxious to get a magnified view of this biological invader. A good core group of nurses come to the third floor as well.

But before day-two is out, Ziggy’s 85 year old body seems to have plain given up, fluid laden lungs laboring in his sagging chest. And with a hellacious fever to boot, no quantities of Love ice able to stem the upward spiral. Tending to his spirit is all A.O. is able to do. “Laura Bell’s fever is breaking, Ziggy, see–she’s waving at you from the bed across the room. I have all I can do keepin’ her from takin’ my job.”

“In bed vhere she belongs! I don’t vant her paying for my mistakes,” The old German forces out words with precious little breath.

“Mistakes?” A.O. is curious.

healers

“Ya, I treated some sick Indians, from za reservation up north, Laura’s people. Didn’t think they had a plague.” He is regretful to the end.

          “It’s not the plague, Ziggy, somethin’ no one’s seen before, influenza they’re calling it. Clifton and Kenty have isolated a bacteria or maybe a virus.” He attempts to take the pressure of guilt out of Ziggy’s condition.

          “I should have known better. Too many of zose indians vere sick, bad sick.” He pauses to draw a painful breath, a chance to reflect. “I am glad Frieda vent before me. She did not have to be alone. You make sure you take care of Laura unt Maggie, they will be alone now.”

“No Ziggy, you can’t leave me. Please hang on until they can come up with a serum, you’re too stubborn…”

Stubborn does not leave A.O.’s mouth before Doctor Siegfried Endlichoffer eyelids drop over his tired blue irises. He is a fairly early victim that will eventually number 800,000. He is felled by a simple act of compassion, unnecessary risk for the sake of healing; a trait passed on to a willing and eager student.

The student must resist embracing his expired friend, the natural reaction given the moment. Instead he gives way to a trained team of amateur undertakers, whose job is to isolate the corpse for later burial. There is not much room for tender moments, unless you risk your own life in the process.

  A.O. Campbell is left to suffer in silence, removed from the rest of the world by his choice, while witness to an ever mounting carnage, even to the loss of his comforter, the reason for his vocation.


Alpha Omega M.D.

COMPASSION2

34 Compassion Paintings by John Schlimm

Episode #209


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