Puerto Rico, Anemia, Puerto Ricans discussed on Throughline
Then in some dark twist of fate on September thirteenth in Nineteen Twenty eight. There's a massive hurricane the worst hurricane in in its history Hurricane San Felipe the storm killed hundreds hundreds of thousands were left homeless and Puerto Rico's coffee industry was decimated and it's also important to know that coffee grows really slowly tow it takes years before there's another coffee crop then when it seemed things couldn't get any worse in nineteen twenty nine the US stock market collapsed and the US government apportioned the pain the US government decided that it would prioritize sugar growers in the mainland's over sugar growers in the territories at set quotas on production and so that the pain would be distributed so much of Puerto Rico's pain with easy to see but one of its biggest problems was only just coming into view. Many Puerto Ricans were thin Pale and unusually tired you look at the pictures of the peasantry from that time on their skeletons workers cut for years this had been mistaken for hunger or laziness but it was actually epidemic of anemia by the turn of the twentieth at century anemia was the leading cause of death in Puerto Rico but even once it was diagnosed. It took years for researchers to discover what was causing such a widespread red problem especially in coffee plantation workers. It was the result of hookworms that board to a victim's feet as they were walking shoeless in the dirt by the Nineteen Thirties. Anemia is a public health crisis drawing attention from the mainland especially from the Rockefeller Foundation. They're convinced that there might be a medical fix to the problem of poverty in Puerto Rico. Anemia is associated with low productivity vity so for that reason Laura Briggs says it was perfect for the Rockefeller brand which was often very anti labor and so they're backing this idea that mature attorney in Puerto Rico is that people don't work hard enough and if only they weren't so anemic and tired all the time they'd be better workers. MM Puerto Rico wouldn't be so poor. The Rockefeller Foundation sends doctors to the island and one of them is Cornelius Packard roads yeah cornelius packard roads dusty to his friends dusty rooms so he's a doctor and what he's supposed to do is study anemia Amiya and their doctors who come down from the mainland to Puerto Rico before and they'd behaved like doctors right you know they were really worried about experimental treatments in order to preserve the health of the patient above all else. Cornelius Packard roads took a different tack only know from road zone letters is is at first. He was really happy to be there. He thought that there was really good. Funding really good equipment and plenty of patients to do research search for a young man who wanted to make his name in anemia roads is dispatched to San Juan where he gets down to work and he's a colorful whole character who people either like or don't like and somebody strips his car he's he's furious.