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Living St. Louis: WWII Doctor J. Eugene Lewis

Producer Ruth Ezell recently spoke with Dr. J. Eugene Lewis, a 1942 Harvard Medical School graduate and veteran of World War II. From shamans and medicine men to modern doctors, healers have often found themselves where patients are plentiful—on the battlefield during times of war. Lewis’s career as a doctor was shaped by the times in which he was trained. As a member of one of the army’s first mobile medical units serving in Normandy, Lewis practiced his trade in an environment where supplies were scarce, shock was a relatively new condition and penicillin was the cutting-edge wonder drug. “Although it might seem mundane now, the work of physicians during World War II paved the way for modern medicine,” Ezell says. “Lewis’s experiences were revolutionary at the time. They created the circumstances where innovations such as the widespread use of antibiotics and the modern M.A.S.H. unit were born.”