GenMassachusetts-L ArchivesArchiver > GenMassachusetts > 2005-11 > 1133009459
Subject: Lepors in Massachusetts
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2005 07:50:59 EST
Good morning listers..
This was in the Boston Globe this morning and I thought I would pass along
the first part as it may shed some light on someone's missing relatives. I
did not include the entire article as it is addressing the possible Bird Flu
pandemic...but I did include the URL if anyone wishes to read the entire
Susan in MA.
The tragedy of Penikese Island
By Ken Hartnett | November 26, 2005
ONE HUNDRED years ago this month, Massachusetts politicians responded to a
public health panic by opening a state leprosy hospital on barren Penikese
Island, 14 miles off New Bedford near Cuttyhunk. They kept it operating for 16
years, isolating its foreign-born patients from family and friends in a
punishing setting that drove up costs and compromised care.
While the Commonwealth's high-minded intention was to protect a vulnerable
and stigmatized few from their fear-filled neighbors while giving them quality
medical care, the state in reality snatched away life, stripping leprosy
victims of family and friends while exposing them to experiments beyond their
limited capacity for informed consent. Penikese patients spoke Russian, Hebrew,
Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, and Turkish, but few spoke English.