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January 13, 1989

Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis

JAMA. 1989;261(2):299-300. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420020155053

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The circumstances surrounding Drew's death after an automobile accident and the multiple efforts to disseminate the truth surrounding this event are tenaciously confirmed by the author after interviewing innumerable witnesses and participants. Drew's untimely death occurred after World War II when black martyrs were needed. Despite detailed confirmation by those in attendance who unsuccessfully managed Drew's multiple fatal injuries, the myth [that he was denied proper treatment because of his race] lingers.

Finally, the humanist side of Charles Drew, who exerted a magnetic effect on those who interfaced with him at multiple professional and social levels, is graphically portrayed in his letters to his wife, Lenore. His love of Lenore provided the opportunity in his moments of loneliness at Columbia to bare his soul to her. The penetrating and descriptive nature of the man is reflected in these letters as compassionate and visionary. The letters made me (as a surgeon)