Fifty Years of American Medicine on the Isthmus of Panama

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In May, 1904, the United States obtained a strip of land 10 miles wide and extending 50 miles in length north and south across the Isthmus of Panama where construction was soon to begin on the epoch-making Panama Canal. During the past fifty years the Government of the United States has maintained a staff of doctors, nurses and medical technologists for the care of canal employees, merchant seamen, personnel of the Armed Forces and travelers at this crossroad of the Western Hemisphere. The importance of the medical department in the construction of the canal has often been reviewed, but many other accomplishments little known to the average person have also come from this area. Hundreds of interns and recently scores of resident physicians have received their training at Gorgas Hospital, and numerous physicians have visited the Canal Zone to see and study tropical diseases.