Author name: José Amador
Chapter Except: In an excerpt from Medicine and Nation Building in the Americas, 1890–1940 (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2015),
The Pursuit of Health: Colonialism and Hookworm Eradication in Puerto Rico
#Latinaherstory #Research #Review:
#Latinaherstory Date: August 10th 2023
Amador weaves historical context for the social and political development of the modern state of Puerto Rico with the empathetic telling of great human suffering and strength. Carefully framing the doctors, the bureaucracies, and funding structures and the identities and theories that informed the approach to “treating” the Puerto Rican population of “hookworm” and critically examines why such treatment was commenced. Amador concludes in part, that the experiences of the Puerto Rican test subjects, hundreds of thousands of whom remain nameless, informed systems of information distribution that both economically benefited their imperialistic and attending physicians and but to further economic benefit, the systems of designed to identify the treatment of hookworm within main populations of “higher value” rural white poor.
Highlighting the experience of a doctor who consulted freely with American doctors explicitly for the purpose of treating rural whites based on his experiences in Puerto Rico, who was told upon his return to the still struggling island, he would NOT receive additional funding or compensation for his consulting, as archetypical. Part and parcel for the characteristic lack of compensation for an entire nation who were subject to medical colonization by an invading army that often times, did not even record their names and their exhausted mainland advocates.
#LATINAHERSTORY ADDED Guiding Questions:
1) Do newspapers and biomedical journals at the time of invasion (1899) influence the understanding of mainland medical professionals about Puerto Ricans?
2) Who did race and class impact the way their illness was described, etc reference to “lazy worm”?
3) How does the biomed/ical system address eugenics based language in past scholarship going forward?