To the Editor:
Your story on John F. Fulton [“Fulton, penicillin and chance,” Fall 1999|Winter 2000] brought back memories. Perhaps you will permit me to add a few facts.
Dr. Fulton was Sterling Professor of Physiology at the time and not a clinician. The clinician who engineered the obtaining of some penicillin was Dr. Francis G. Blake, Sterling Professor of Medicine as well as the medical school’s dean.
I recall many a night, as a senior intern on the isolation ward, walking from Fitkin (Dr. Blake’s office) to Brady, where a filter was available courtesy of Dr. Morris Tager of Bacteriology, and back to isolation with the “precious product.” It was necessary to filter the solution made from the yellow powder received from Merck in Rahway, N.J., to be certain there were no residual bacteria. This was then given to the patient, 5,000 units intravenously every four hours. Today we think nothing of giving a million or more units several times daily.
One of my clear memories is that of Dr. Wilder Tileson on rounds that Monday morning looking at the very graph of Mrs. Miller’s chart you published and mumbling just loud enough for those of us close enough to hear, “Black magic!”
Your comment from Herb Tabor, M.D., was pertinent. You might have added that in addition to his distinguished career as a research biochemist, he has been senior editor of the Journal of Biological Chemistry for many years.
Charles M. Grossman,M.D., HS ’44