How Oregon Fought Tuberculosis (Full Documentary)

>> BACK THEN, WHEN YOU WENT UP TO THIS PLACE, YOU WERE UP THERE TO DIE, AND THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DO I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE >> ♪ I’VE GOT THAT OLD TB ♪ ♪ I CAN’T EAT A THANG… ♪ >> TB WAS CERTAINLY EPIDEMIC IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE 20th CENTURY IN THE UNITED STATES >> ♪ I CAN’T EAT A BITE ♪ ♪ GOT ME WORRIED SO ♪ ♪ I CAN’T EVEN SLEEP AT NIGHT ♪ ♪ I’VE GOT THE TB BLUES ♪♪ >> Narrator: TB IS SHORT FOR TUBERCULOSIS, ALSO CALLED CONSUMPTION, WASTING DISEASE, WHITE PLAGUE EVERYONE FEARED IT >> Scientists are studying the life and habits of the germ >> Narrator: NOBODY HAD A CURE >> PARENTS WOULDN’T LET THEIR KIDS USE WATER FOUNTAINS, THEY WOULDN’T LET THEM GO TO HOUSES WHERE TUBERCULOSIS EXISTED IT WAS SCARY FOR FAMILIES >> All over this broad land of ours, a bitter war is being fought against tuberculosis >> Narrator: NOT SO LONG AGO, PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS DRAMATIZED THE WARNING SIGNS OF TB NEW TECHNOLOGIES ENABLED EARLY DETECTION >> X-rays, we call them >> The fight against the white plague is under way >> UNFORTUNATELY, THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN THE EARLY DAYS WHO HAD TUBERCULOSIS DIED OF TUBERCULOSIS MANY PEOPLE WHO WERE IN THIS VERY ROOM THAT YOU’RE SITTING IN NOW, MANY PEOPLE DIED RIGHT HERE TODAY, PEOPLE DON’T REALLY KNOW MUCH ABOUT IT BECAUSE WE’VE HAD IT UNDER SUCH GOOD CONTROL >> WE’VE MADE DRASTIC STRIDES WITH DRUG TREATMENT THAT NEVER WOULD’VE BEEN THOUGHT ABOUT IN 1920, 1930 >> Narrator: BUT THE BATTLE CONTINUES >> YOU’VE HAD A TEST BEFORE? >> IN 1993, THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DECLARED TUBERCULOSIS AS A GLOBAL EMERGENCY >> TB IS RAMPANT IN MANY OTHER PLACES IN THE WORLD, AND WITH REGULARITY, TB ARRIVES ON OUR SHORES >> I OFTEN GET COMMENTS, “GEE, I THOUGHT TB WAS GONE.” >> FUNDING FOR OREGON EXPERIENCE IS PROVIDED BY THANK YOU >> I REMEMBER SHE WAS A VERY CARING MOTHER AND WORRIED ABOUT ALL OF US KIDS AND SHE WAS PRETTY STRICT WITH ALL OF US >> Narrator: RUTH RANDALL WAS BORN AND RAISED IN COLORADO THERE, SHE MARRIED A HANDSOME FELLOW NAMED GLEN SPENCER AND STARTED A FAMILY >> THERE WERE SEVEN OF US CHILDREN I WAS THE THIRD FROM THE BOTTOM UP >> Narrator: AT THE HEIGHT OF THE DEPRESSION, THE SPENCER FAMILY MOVED TO SILVERTON, OREGON >> MY MOTHER WAS A HOMEMAKER, MY FATHER WAS MANY DIFFERENT THINGS >> Narrator: AS THE CHILDREN GREW AND THRIVED, THEY SAW THEIR MOTHER BECOMING MORE FRAIL, THINNER, TIRED >> I DO REMEMBER THAT SHE WAS BEING SICK AT HOME BEFORE SHE WENT INTO THE HOSPITAL, BUT I DIDN’T REALIZE WHAT SHE HAD AT THE TIME I DON’T THINK ANY OF US DID >> Narrator: NONE OF THEM WROTE DOWN THE EXACT DATE, BUT THEY WOULD NEVER FORGET THAT DAY >> WELL, OF COURSE YOU REMEMBER BECAUSE IT WAS QUITE SHOCKING TO US: WHERE IS SHE GOING? WHY DOES SHE HAVE TO GO THERE? >> Narrator: IN THE SPRING OF 1939, RUTH SPENCER CHECKED INTO THE SANATORIUM, THE OREGON STATE

TUBERCULOSIS HOSPITAL IN SALEM TB EXISTED IN ANCIENT TIMES, BUT IT EMERGED AS A FULL-FLEDGED EPIDEMIC IN THE 1600s IN WESTERN EUROPE TB IS A BACTERIAL INFECTION IT CAN ATTACK ALMOST ANY PART OF THE BODY, BUT COMMONLY SETTLES IN THE CHEST, WHERE IT EATS AWAY AT THE TISSUES OF THE LUNGS >> THE NORMAL X-RAY IN THE LUNG FIELDS SHOULD BE NICE AND DARK WITH THE RIBS SHOWING, BUT IN THIS ONE, THERE’S FLUFFY WHITE INFILTRATES AND THERE’S ALSO A CAVITY HERE IT’S A LITTLE ROUND CIRCLE WHERE MUCH OF THE INFECTIOUSNESS IS PROBABLY COMING FROM IN THIS INDIVIDUAL >> Narrator: INCREASINGLY, PEOPLE LIVED AND WORKED IN CLOSE QUARTERS, IN POORLY VENTILATED HOUSING AND CROWDED FACTORIES, IDEAL CONDITIONS FOR AN INFECTIOUS LUNG DISEASE TRANSMITTED BY COUGHING IN THE 1700s, TB KILLED ONE OF EVERY FOUR EUROPEANS AND BEGAN TO SPREAD SLOWLY ACROSS THE GLOBE IN THE U.S., THE DISEASE PEAKED IN THE 1800s BY 1939, TB WAS CLEARLY ON THE DECLINE, BUT WOULD INFECT RUTH SPENCER NONETHELESS A RELATIVE HAD GIVEN RUTH A SMALL NOTEBOOK TO KEEP A JOURNAL >> “APRIL 9, EASTER DAY: A GLORIOUS MORNING, TRULY ONE OF PROMISE AND HOPE MY FAMILY WERE ALL UP, AND HOW NICE THEY ALL LOOKED AND SEEMED TO BE DOING OKAY WITHOUT MOTHER A LOVELY DINNER, LOVELY FLOWERS SO MUCH KINDNESS AFTER ALL IN THIS OLD WORLD.” >> FOR A LONG TIME, WE WERE NOT ALLOWED TO GO INTO THE HOSPITAL WE HAD TO STAY OUTSIDE AND VISIT WITH HER THROUGH THE WINDOW >> Narrator: LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES FOR TB PATIENTS WERE CALLED SANATORIUMS OR SANITARIUMS THE FIRST IN THIS COUNTRY HAD BEEN BUILT IN NEW YORK STATE, MODELED ON THE FRESH AIR AND REST THERAPY PRACTICED IN EUROPE >> YOU’RE GOING TO LIVE IN THIS PLACE WITH VERY FEW VISITORS, YOU’RE GOING TO BE AT BED REST MOST OF THE TIME, YOU CAN’T EXERCISE YOU JUST HAVE TO EAT THIS FATTY DIET AND TRY AND GAIN SOME WEIGHT AND LAY LOW FOR A FEW YEARS AND KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED THAT YOU DON’T DIE FROM THIS ROTTEN DISEASE AND IF YOU’RE SUCCESSFUL, MAYBE YOU’LL GET OUT, AND IF YOU’RE LUCKY, IT WON’T COME BACK IF YOU’RE UNLUCKY, IT’LL COME BACK AND YOU’LL DIE FROM IT >> “A WHOLE WEEK TODAY SINCE I CAME HERE IT SEEMS A MONTH I HAD ALWAYS FLATTERED MYSELF THAT I WAS SUCH A STRONG-WILLED PERSON, AND HERE I AM WEAK AS A KITTEN AND CRYING MOST OF THE TIME BECAUSE I CAN’T GO HOME.” >> BED REST, RELAXATION, BEING QUIET THAT WAS THE PRINCIPAL METHOD OF TREATMENT I GUESS THAT MEANT YOU GOT TO CURE YOURSELF, AND THEY COULDN’T MANY COULDN’T >> Narrator: SANATORIUMS DID KEEP THE PATIENTS, MANY OF THEM INFECTIOUS, APART FROM THE GENERAL POPULATION >> MANY PEOPLE CONSIDERED A PERSON WHO WENT TO THE TB HOSPITAL AS AN OUTCAST, ALMOST LIKE THEY USED TO CONSIDER LEPERS MY MOTHER TOLD ME NEVER TO PLAY WITH TWO BOYS THAT I LIKED VERY MUCH BECAUSE THEIR FATHER HAD TB AND HE DIED OF IT SHE DIDN’T KNOW I PLAYED WITH THEM ANYWAY >> SANITARIUMS DID THEIR UTMOST TO TAKE CARE OF PATIENTS WITH A DISEASE THAT EVERYONE FEARED, AND WE HAD SOME UNDERSTANDING OF IT, BUT REALLY NO GOOD TREATMENT FOR IT >> Narrator: OREGON’S FIRST TB FACILITY OPENED IN 1905 ON SEVERAL ACRES OF RIVERFRONT PROPERTY IN SOUTHEAST PORTLAND THE PORTLAND OPEN AIR SANATORIUM GREW TO BECOME A COMPLEX OF COTTAGES AND MEDICAL BUILDINGS PATIENTS WHO COULD NOT AFFORD THIS SORT OF PRIVATE CARE WERE HOUSED AT THE MULTNOMAH COUNTY POOR FARM AT EDGEFIELD MEANWHILE, THE STATE SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF AND MUTE HAD VACATED A LARGE BUILDING EAST OF SALEM IN 1910, IT REOPENED AS THE OREGON STATE TUBERCULOSIS HOSPITAL, THE FIRST STATE-OWNED PUBLIC SANATORIUM IN THE WESTERN U.S >> “IT WAS TOO DARK BEFORE I THOUGHT OF WRITING LAST NIGHT NOTHING SEEMED TO MATTER ANYWAY I WAS SURE IN THE DUMPS I’M GOING TO STICK IT OUT FOR A MONTH, AND IF THEY’RE NOT DOING ANYTHING FOR ME, THEN I’M GOING HOME TO HECK WITH THEIR OLD SANATORIUM.” >> Narrator: THE EASTERN OREGON TUBERCULOSIS HOSPITAL IN THE DALLES OPENED ITS DOORS IN 1933

BUT NOT UNTIL 1939 WOULD PORTLAND HAVE ITS OWN PUBLIC TB HOSPITAL, BUILT ON THE CAMPUS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON MEDICAL SCHOOL ALL OF THESE SANATORIUMS MAINTAINED LONG WAITING LISTS, THOUGH ONCE ADMITTED, THE PATIENTS COULD HARDLY WAIT TO LEAVE >> “SOMETIMES I GO COLD WITH DREAD WONDERING IF I’LL EVER GET OUT OF HERE DO I WANT TO KNOW THE DOCTOR VERDICT OR DON’T I? THIS IS ALL MY OWN FAULT AND MY PUNISHMENT, AND I’LL JUST HAVE TO GET MYSELF OUT OF IT, IF I CAN ONLY HAVE COURAGE ENOUGH TO CARRY ON.” >> Narrator: FROM THE TURN OF THE CENTURY, THE CHRISTMAS SEAL PROGRAM AND OTHER PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS FUNDED TB PREVENTION EFFORTS, INCLUDING EDUCATIONAL FILMS >> We have mobilized against tuberculosis all the resources of modern science We are constantly building better and more efficient tools But only by checking an ever-increasing number of citizens, by going after tuberculosis before the disease spreads, can tuberculosis be conquered Only if we fight it on a nationwide front can we achieve a lasting control over tuberculosis >> Narrator: THESE CAMPAIGNS AIMED TO BRING PEOPLE WITH TB INTO THE CARE SYSTEM TO THAT END, THE SANATORIUM EXPERIENCE WAS TYPICALLY PRESENTED IN A POSITIVE LIGHT >> Through his window, he sees the sunlit hills of California, with its fragrant orange groves and palm trees Immediately he is inspired with a new fighting spirit, for here at last is his city of hope >> “WELL, EVERY DAY BEEN JUST LIKE THE ONE BEFORE, AND I HAVEN’T HAD MUCH HEART TO WRITE NEVER GET OUT OF BED.” >> THE TIME WENT VERY SLOWLY WE WERE ALL WANTING HER TO COME HOME >> “THIS MORNING I GOT TWO LETTERS FROM MY TWO LITTLE GIRLS THAT I THINK LOTS OF THEY STILL THINK THEY CAN BRING THEIR TROUBLES TO MOTHER, AND IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD TO KNOW THEY DO I WROTE THEM EACH A LONG LETTER TRYING TO ENCOURAGE AND PRAISE THEM AND HELP THEM IRON OUT THEIR TROUBLES WELL, I HOPE THEY ALL COME UP TO SEE ME TOMORROW.” >> Narrator: RUTH’S CHILDREN WERE REPEATEDLY TESTED FOR INFECTION, BUT AGAINST THE ODDS, NONE EVER SHOWED ANY SIGNS OF TB >> SMALL CHILDREN ARE PARTICULARLY SUSCEPTIBLE TO GOING FROM EARLY INFECTION TO DISEASE IN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME >> Narrator: MANY SANATORIUMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY INCLUDED CHILD PATIENTS THE CHILDREN AT THE SALEM HOSPITAL RECEIVED THE SAME THERAPIES AS THE ADULTS AND WENT TO THE ON-SITE SCHOOL AS WELL A SMALL CLASS OF HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS GRADUATED IN THE HOSPITAL EVERY YEAR THEN, AS NOW, EVERY REPORTED CASE OF TB TRIGGERED AN INVESTIGATION BY PUBLIC HEALTH WORKERS >> They know that each case of tuberculosis comes from another They must find Roy’s associates and warn them, help them Case finders inquire: from whom did Roy get it, to whom has he given it? >> Narrator: BEGINNING IN THE 1940s, MANY LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS STARTED COMMUNITY SCREENING PROGRAMS >> WE WOULD GO AND WE WOULD SKIN TEST SCHOOLCHILDREN ALL OF THOSE WHO WERE POSITIVE, WE’D GO AND TEST THEIR PEOPLE AROUND THEM AND WE WOULD FIND ACTIVE CASES THAT WAY VERY FREQUENTLY AN EXAMPLE OF THAT WAS A MAN THAT HAD ADVANCED TUBERCULOSIS AND HE WAS THE MOST POPULAR MAN IN TOWN WITH THE KIDS, AND HE CAUSED AN EPIDEMIC OF PRIMARY — AND TWO OF THE KIDS CAME DOWN WITH THE ACTIVE PULMONARY TUBERCULOSIS PHASE, AND THEY WERE EXPOSED TO HIM HE WAS DREADFULLY UPSET WHEN HE FINALLY LEARNED THAT IT WASN’T A CIGARETTE COUGH; HE HAD TB >> Here are the shadows expertly interpreted by her doctor They say early tuberculosis This is the time to take steps The sooner the treatment, the more certain the cure Bed rest now for Julie >> SO BED REST WAS PART OF IT REST WAS PART OF IT, NUTRITION WAS PART OF IT, AND THEN SOME OF THE PATIENTS GOT THESE OTHER TREATMENTS >> “MONDAY, JUNE 19th STARTED GOLD TREATMENT IN VEINS IT’S GOING TO BE AWFUL HAVE SHOT EVERY FIVE DAYS, HAVE TO DRINK LOTS OF WATER TO KEEP IT FROM RUINING KIDNEYS.”

>> Narrator: RUTH SPENCER WAS PROBABLY GIVEN INJECTIONS OF GOLD THIOSULFATE, A COMPOUND WHICH CAN IN FACT HARM ONE’S KIDNEYS IN LIEU OF ANY TRULY EFFECTIVE DRUGS, DOCTORS PRESCRIBED ALL SORTS OF COMMON AND UNCOMMON SUBSTANCES TO TB PATIENTS AND CONTINUED TO HOPE FOR A BREAKTHROUGH >> Scientists are studying the life and habits of the germ Someday, maybe, they’ll give us a specific cure >> THERE’S GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT WHEN PENICILLIN WAS DISCOVERED AND IT TREATED A LOT OF BACTERIAL ILLNESSES AND IT WAS TOTALLY USELESS FOR TUBERCULOSIS >> Narrator: TB HOSPITALS STRIVED TO PROVIDE THE LATEST THERAPIES TO THE PATIENTS IN THEIR CARE SESSIONS UNDER ULTRAVIOLET LIGHTS WERE A FAIRLY BENIGN TREATMENT NOT SO FOR SUCH PROCEDURES AS PLOMBAGE, THORACOPLASTY, AND PHRENIC NERVE SURGERY >> WE, AS A MEDICAL PROFESSION, DID SOME DRASTIC, PAINFUL, TRAUMATIC THINGS TO PEOPLE TO TRY AND PREVENT THEIR TUBERCULOSIS FROM GROWING >> Narrator: PERHAPS THE MOST COMMON OF THESE WAS CALLED PNEUMOTHORAX >> Pneumothorax; that means air in the chest A small hollow needle is pushed through the chest wall, air flows in, the soft lung collapses >> YOU NEED TO REALIZE THAT TUBERCULOSIS IS VERY DEPENDENT ON OXYGEN AS AN ORGANISM TO LIVE SO, MANY OF THESE THINGS WERE TO PREVENT THE OXYGEN THAT WE BREATHE IN, THE AIR WE BREATHE IN, TO GET TO THE AREAS OF THE LUNG THAT HAD TUBERCULOSIS SO THAT’S THE PURPOSE OF MANY OF THESE TREATMENTS SURGEONS AND PHYSICIANS CAME UP WITH OTHER WAYS OF KEEPING THE LUNG COLLAPSED FOR EXAMPLE, THEY LITERALLY TOOK PING-PONG BALLS AND THEY WOULD OPEN UP THE CHEST BETWEEN THE RIBS AND STICK THESE PING-PONG BALLS IN THERE TO COLLAPSE THE LUNG AND KEEP IT COLLAPSED >> A LITTLE LATER, THEY WOULD HAVE SURGICAL PROCEDURES, THEY WOULD GO IN AND CUT THE RIBS OUT AND COLLAPSE THE LUNG THAT WAY OR THEY WOULD OPERATE LATER — A DEVELOPMENT, THEY WOULD OPERATE DIRECTLY ON THE LUNGS AND TAKE OUT THE DISEASED PORTION WE DON’T HAVE TO DO ANY OF THAT TODAY >> “GLEN IS OUT OF WORK, BUT I KNOW THEY’LL GET ALONG SOME WAY THE FOUR BOYS CAME UP TO SEE ME ALL LOOK WELL LITTLE BOYS LOOK AS THOUGH THEY NEED A MOTHER COLD, WET DAY AND THEY HAD TO STAY OUTSIDE.” >> Narrator: RUTH’S FINAL JOURNAL ENTRY IS DECEMBER 11, 1939 >> “JOE AND PAUL WERE UP SUNDAY AFRAID CHRISTMAS WILL BE PRETTY TOUGH, BUT WE’LL SOMEHOW GET THROUGH RUNNING A TEMPERATURE AGAIN FOR LAST THREE NIGHTS.” >> THEY SENT ME TO — TO A ROOM THAT I WAS ALL BY MYSELF, YOU KNOW, BUT THE DOCTOR CAME IN, AND HE SAID, “WELL, I HAVE SOME BAD NEWS.” >> Narrator: THE EUROPEANS WHO SETTLED NORTH AMERICA CAME FROM PLACES LONG RAVAGED BY TUBERCULOSIS TO THE NATIVE AMERICANS, THE DISEASE WAS NEW BEGINNING IN THE LATE 1800s, INDIANS WERE CROWDED TOGETHER ONTO RESERVATIONS AND GOVERNMENT-RUN SCHOOLS, SOMETIMES INTO ARMY PRISONS TUBERCULOSIS EXPLODED INTO THEIR COMMUNITIES, PRODUCING SOME OF THE HIGHEST DEATH RATES EVER RECORDED IN THE HISTORY OF THE DISEASE >> IN THE ’40s AND ’50s, TUBERCULOSIS WAS RAMPANT NEARLY EVERYONE THAT YOU KNOW OF WAS INVOLVED WITH IT SOME WAY OR ANOTHER >> Narrator: GEORGE AGUILAR GREW UP ON THE WARM SPRINGS RESERVATION >> I SAW MY GRANDMOTHER DIE OF TUBERCULOSIS I SAW HER WASTE AWAY FOR TWO YEARS INTO A SKELETON, SKIN AND BONE, AND I WATCHED HER TAKE HER LAST BREATH >> Narrator: NOT EVERYONE WHO IS EXPOSED TO TB WILL BECOME INFECTED, AND OF THOSE WHO DO, ONLY A FRACTION DEVELOP THE ACTUAL DISEASE >> I DIDN’T THINK I WAS SICK, LET’S PUT IT THAT WAY I WAS LOSING WEIGHT, I WAS LOSING A LOT OF APPETITE >> Narrator: IN 1954, HE WAS ADMITTED TO THE CUSHMAN INDIAN HOSPITAL IN TACOMA, AT THAT TIME THE REGIONAL HOSPITAL FOR NATIVE PEOPLE WITH TB >> IT WAS TERRIBLY BLEAK THE VAST MAJORITY OF THEM WHO WENT DIED IN THE HOSPITAL

>> Narrator: GEORGE HAD CHECKED IN WITH ABDOMINAL PAIN >> THE DOCTOR SAID, “YOU HAVE TUBERCULOSIS AND YOU HAVE IT MODERATELY ADVANCED IN BOTH LUNGS AND WE ALSO FOUND TUBERCULOSIS IN YOUR INTESTINES.” >> Narrator: HE WOULD SPEND THE NEXT TWO YEARS IN THIS BUILDING >> IN THE 1950s, I THINK THERE WAS AROUND ABOUT 20 TO 25 PEOPLE FROM WARM SPRINGS IN THAT HOSPITAL >> Narrator: SOME OF HIS EXPERIENCES WERE THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES >> ONE NIGHT, ONE OF MY ROOMMATES, HE BEGGED FOR A SHOT BECAUSE HE WAS IN VERY BAD PAIN AND THE NURSE TOLD HIM, “WELL, WE CAN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING.” NEXT MORNING I LOOKED OVER THERE, MOUTH WIDE OPEN, EYES STARING STRAIGHT AHEAD, DIED RIGHT THERE, THAT NIGHT >> Narrator: BUT GEORGE ALSO EXPANDED HIS CIRCLE OF FRIENDS >> THERE WERE PEOPLE FROM THE DAKOTAS, FROM ARIZONA, UTAH, CALIFORNIA, NEVADA, ALL THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, FROM ALASKA, A LOT OF ESKIMOS THEY HAD A DANCE THERE THAT THEY HAD A GREAT BIG OLD BEAR HIDE, AND HERE WERE THESE OLD GUYS JUMPING UP AND DOWN LIKE NOTHING WAS WRONG WITH THEM >> Narrator: HE EVEN MET HIS WIFE, WHO WAS ALSO A PATIENT, DURING HIS STAY LIKE THE PEOPLE AT RUTH SPENCER’S HOSPITAL, GEORGE AND HIS FELLOW PATIENTS WERE SUBJECTED TO MANY ADVANCED PROCEDURES OF THE TIME >> THEY’D CUT YOU OPEN RIGHT FROM BACK OF YOUR BACK RIGHT HERE CLEAR AROUND TO THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SIDE HERE, AND THEY CUT OUT A RIB AND THEY’D EXPOSE ALL YOUR LUNGS AND CUT AWAY THE INFECTED PART OF YOUR LOBES >> Narrator: BUT GEORGE AGUILAR’S BOUT WITH TB IN THE MID-1950s WOULD HAVE A VERY DIFFERENT OUTCOME FROM RUTH’S SCIENTISTS HAD DISCOVERED THE ANTIBIOTIC STREPTOMYCIN, WHICH COULD DESTROY TB BACTERIA OTHER SIMILAR DRUGS SOON FOLLOWED WHEN COMBINED AND ADMINISTERED OVER MANY MONTHS, THEY PROVED TO BE QUITE EFFECTIVE GEORGE AND HIS WIFE LEFT THE HOSPITAL COMPLETELY CURED OF ADVANCED TUBERCULOSIS >> THEY TRIED TO SEND ME TO SCHOOL, ACCOUNTING AND STUFF LIKE THAT >> Each patient is helped to find his place in the workaday world when he leaves the sanatorium >> I WAS TO NEVER, EVER DO PHYSICAL LABOR THEY TRIED TO MAKE ME LEARN HOW TO USE A TYPEWRITER, A-S-D-F AND ALL THIS, TRYING ALL — NAH >> Narrator: RUTH SPENCER OF SILVERTON, OREGON, HAD NOT BEEN SO FORTUNATE SHE STOPPED KEEPING A JOURNAL, BUT SHE STAYED ON AT THE SALEM TB HOSPITAL FOR SEVERAL MORE MONTHS SOMETIME IN 1940, SHE WENT HOME >> MY FATHER HAD BUILT A SEPARATE ROOM ON THE HOUSE FOR HER, AND AT FIRST, WE WERE NOT ALLOWED TO GO IN THERE, BUT THEN AS SHE GOT BETTER, I GUESS THEY DECIDED TO LET US GO IN, SO WE CAN GO IN THEN AND VISIT WITH HER MOST OF THE TIME IT WAS JUST FROM THE DOORWAY BUT SHE WAS NEVER UP AND AROUND AGAIN >> Narrator: RUTH HAD LIVED AN INTERESTING LIFE SHE MARRIED A GOOD MAN, SHE HAD SEVEN HEALTHY CHILDREN BUT SHE WOULD NEVER KNOW THEM AS ADULTS THEY GATHERED ONE LAST TIME FOR HER FUNERAL IN EARLY FEBRUARY 1941 >> I KNOW SHE WAS A VERY GOOD MOTHER, AND SHE WAS ALWAYS PROUD OF ALL OF US, SHE SAID >> Narrator: JUST A FEW YEARS LATER, THE DISEASE THAT HAD TAKEN HER LIFE WOULD BE CURABLE A PERSON WITH TB COULD TAKE A LONG-TERM REGIMEN OF PILLS, BECOME NONINFECTIOUS WITHIN WEEKS, AND FULLY RECOVER IN ONE OR TWO YEARS THE ERA OF TB SANATORIUMS WAS WINDING DOWN THE EASTERN OREGON TUBERCULOSIS HOSPITAL IN THE DALLES CLOSED IN 1959 AND IS NOW THE SITE OF COLUMBIA GORGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE IN 1963, THE STATE TB HOSPITAL IN PORTLAND RELEASED ITS LAST

PATIENTS THE BUILDING NOW SERVES AS OFFICES AND CLASSROOMS FOR THE OREGON HEALTH AND SCIENCE UNIVERSITY THE STATE TUBERCULOSIS HOSPITAL IN SALEM CLOSED IN 1967 IT BECAME THE CAMPUS OF WESTERN BAPTIST COLLEGE, NOW CALLED CORBAN COLLEGE BACK IN 1860, ONE OF EVERY TEN OREGONIANS DIED OF TUBERCULOSIS TODAY, FEWER THAN 100 CASES OF THE DISEASE ARE REPORTED ANNUALLY, AND ALMOST NO ONE DIES FROM TB IN OREGON ANYMORE THAT’S DUE IN LARGE PART TO THE AGGRESSIVE WORK OF THE STATE AND COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS >> WE HAVE SCREENING PROGRAMS IN OUR COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS CENTER AND OUR COUNTY JAIL, IN HOMELESS SHELTERS WE SCREEN SMALL CHILDREN WHO ARE JOINING HEAD START >> WE’VE BEEN WORKING WITH THE HOMELESS SHELTERS IN PORTLAND TO DO SCREENING AND KEEP TB OUT OF THE SHELTERS, SO ACTUALLY OUR CASE RATES HAVE BEEN COMING DOWN >> ONE OF THE PROBLEMS, HOWEVER, IS THAT WE HAVE A LOT OF IMMIGRANTS COMING TO THIS COUNTRY FROM OTHER COUNTRIES IN WHICH TUBERCULOSIS IS EXTREMELY COMMON >> Narrator: TODAY, ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION, A STAGGERING 2 BILLION PEOPLE, CARRY LATENT INFECTIONS OF THE TB BACTERIA >> ABOUT 10% OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION THAT IS CURRENTLY INFECTED WILL AT SOME POINT IN THEIR LIFE ACTUALLY DEVELOP TUBERCULOSIS DISEASE >> Narrator: EVERY YEAR, SOME 8 MILLION NEW CASES OF ACTIVE TUBERCULOSIS APPEAR AND 2 MILLION PEOPLE DIE FROM IT >> AND IF YOU LOOK AT AFRICA, THE WOMEN AND MEN, SO MANY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS ARE INFECTED WITH AIDS, AND THE MAJORITY OF THEM WILL DIE NOT FROM AIDS BUT TUBERCULOSIS >> Narrator: OREGON HEALTH AND SCIENCE UNIVERSITY NOW HOUSES SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST ADVANCED TB RESEARCH, SEEKING NEW WAYS TO DETECT AND DEFEAT TUBERCULOSIS >> WE ALL BELIEVE FUNDAMENTALLY THAT WE CAN ERADICATE THIS DISEASE >> WE NEED A VACCINE THAT’S WHAT WE NEED AND WE NEED WAYS TO GIVE IT TO THE WORLD >> Narrator: LATELY, DRUG-RESISTANT STRAINS OF TB, UNRESPONSIVE TO ANTIBIOTICS, HAVE BEGUN TO APPEAR AROUND THE WORLD, INCLUDING HERE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST MOST OREGONIANS FACE NO DANGER FROM TUBERCULOSIS IN THEIR DAY-TO-DAY LIVES, BUT IN OTHER PLACES, SOME OF THOSE OLD CAUTIONARY MESSAGES STILL RING TRUE >> IT’S LURKING THERE IT’S GOING TO BE A THREAT TO THE COMMUNITY WE’RE ALL PART OF THE COMMUNITY, AND EVEN THOUGH IT’S MAYBE NOT DIRECTLY AFFECTING US, IT’S THERE [ ♪♪♪ ] >> THERE’S MORE ABOUT WHITE PLAGUE ON OREGON EXPERIENCE ONLINE TO LEARN MORE OR TO ORDER A DVD OF THE SHOW, VISIT opb.org Captions by LNS Captioning Portland, Oregon www.LNScaptioning.com FUNDING FOR OREGON EXPERIENCE IS PROVIDED BY THANK YOU