A village doctor meets medicine’s enlightenment.
Married to Millicent, an abolitionist and known participant
in the Underground Railroad, Dr. Jabez Allen became an avid supporter of the
civil rights movement.
One runaway slave, Civia, became indispensable to Dr.
Allen’s medical practice, and the association forced Dr. Allen to reject the nineteenth
century theories that had demeaned Negros as physiologically inferior.
But the anti-slavery passions that joined Millicent and
Civia in abolitionist occupations could not prevent the arrest of Civia and her
family under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act.
Issues of culture and civilization continue as Dr. Allen
confronts the contagions of his day, including the cholera that drained life
from his patient Abbie, the daughter of President Millard Fillmore, the man who
signed the Fugitive Slave Act into law.
Dr. Allen joins with Dr. Austin Flint to investigate a
localized typhoid pandemic, producing a model of epidemiology that captured the
attention Dr. John Snow and his study of the London well.
Bloodletting and Germs is a historical novel written as Dr.
Citing over 400 sources, it is true to the events of Dr.
Allen’s life and to the forces changing medical care in the nineteenth century.
Dr. Allen’s story teaches us about managing the unknown and
becoming a small-town hero. His doctoring, and his life, put humanity’s face on
a period of profound scientific and social transformation.