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November 1994

Reminiscences of Poliomyelitis Past

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(11):1183-1184. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170110069010

The article by Markel1 in the new Historical Perspectives of Pediatrics section of the Archives brings back a flood of memories, as I belong to the generation of pediatricians who actually used tank respirators in treating patients with poliomyelitis. In 1949, the city of Baltimore, Md, closed its contagious disease hospital (Sydenham), which served all of Maryland, and transferred its function to the Baltimore City Hospitals. The reasoning, in addition to a very low occupancy rate at Sydenham, was that the only contagious disease then likely ever to occur in epidemic form was poliomyelitis.