'How many people ask their #MD questions about #chemotherapy? Have you ever wondered how such a #toxicSubstance (so #toxic that those who administer it must wear gowns and gloves) became the “standard of #care” for #cancer? The #truth of its origin is as far away from a #scientific #laboratory as one could #imagine!
In August of 1943, #PresidentRoosevelt approved the shipment of chemical munitions containing #mustardGas to the Mediterranean theater. Two thousand #mustard #bombs were loaded onto the #USS #JohnHarvey. The ship was waiting to unload in Bari, #Italy when #German planes attacked on December 2, 1943. The #GenevaProtocol of 1925 #prohibited the use of chemical and #biologicalWeapons. The Allies didn’t trust the Germans and both sides were secretly stockpiling mustard gas to prepare for retaliation.
Imagine the Allies surprise when the #Luftwaffe (believed to be stretched too thin to attack) blew up the #USSJohnHarvey, releasing 2000 mustard gas bombs (120,000 pounds) into the air and the bay, #indiscriminately killing soldiers and #civilians. Hundreds of sailors who had jumped into the water to escape the sinking ship were covered with an oily, garlic smelling residue that blistered and burned their skin and caused many to lose their #eyesight. The Top Brass knew exactly what was causing the symptoms. But they had been ordered to keep quiet.
Lt. #ColonelStewartFrancisAlexander was flown to the scene after a short briefing. Alexander was trained to treat the effects of #chemicalWarfare. He instantly recognized the symptoms: garlic-like odor, burning skin, and blindness. It had to be mustard gas. Alexander was able to begin treatment immediately and saved many people. However, when he briefed the commanders, he was told to treat the patients and keep his mouth shut. It was clear to him it was a #coverUp. No one wanted the Luftwaffe to know they had blown up a ship filled with mustard gas. Though it would be years before the truth came out, Alexander took tissue samples back to the U.S. to be analyzed immediately.'