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…the United States population was 92,228,496 spread across 46 states in the Union. New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and St. Louis were the most populous cities.
… Dr. Abraham Flexner released his paradigm-shifting report, Medical Education in the United States and Canada. Flexner recommendations would lead to increased standards for medical schools and physicians, respectively.
… year saw the birth of Hallmark and "shoebox" greeting cards and the incorporation of the Boy Scouts of America.
… heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson would face James Jeffries in “fight of the century” in Reno, Nevada attracting a record setting 200, 000 spectators. The year also saw the worlds of sports and politics cross briefly when President Taft threw out the first pitch of a baseball game at Griffith Stadium (April) commencing a tradition of the “ceremonial pitch” that continues to this day.
…literature in 1910 was marked by the death of Mark Twain and the publication of Jane Addams’ Twenty Years at Hull House as well as several new Oz stories by L. Frank Baum.
In 1910, the Navy Medical Department remained a small peacetime organization consisting of 1,111 hospital corpsmen, 48 nurses, and 295 physicians; there were also an additional 20 acting assistant surgeons (temporary/non-commissioned) serving in the Navy. The Navy operated hospitals stateside and abroad in Annapolis, Md., Brooklyn, N.Y., Cañacao, P.I., Chelsea, Mass., Guam, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Las Animas, Colo., Mare Island, Calif., Narragansett Bay, R.I., Norfolk, Va., Olongapo, P.I., Pensacola, Fl., Philadelphia, Pa., Port Royal, S.C., Portsmouth, N.H., Puget Sound, Wash., San Juan, P.R., Sitka, Alaska, Tutuila (America Samoa), Washington, D.C. and Yokohama (Japan).
In 1910, the leading causes of death for Navy and Marine Corps personnel were: Drowning (109), Pneumonia (35), Gunshot wounds (20), Heart Disease (19) and Tuberculosis (19). Gonorrhea (60,162), Tonsillitis (2,121), Chancroid (1,968), wounds (1,691) were the leading diseases and injuries. Tuberculosis (233), Flat Feet (149), Ear Affections (127) and Syphilis (115) were the leading causes of disability in the Navy and Marine Corps.
In February 1910, Rear Adm. Charles Francis Stokes (1863-1931) took the helm as Surgeon General of the Navy. Commissioned an assistant surgeon in1889, Stokes would go on to serve in the Spanish-American War as a surgeon on USS Solace, and later a professor of surgery at the Naval Medical School in Washington, D.C. As commander of the hospital ship USS Relief (1908), the first medical officer ever to do so. He was appointed Surgeon General in 1910. He is best known for his invention of the Stokes wire-basket stretcher, still in use, which proved of great value used in the close confines of ships. While Surgeon General he raised the professional standards of the Medical Corps, instituted prophylaxis which practically ended typhoid in the Navy, planned and built the naval hospital at Pearl Harbor, and initiated planning for two new hospital ships USS Mercy and USS Relief.
In 1910, Navy psychiatrist Lieut. Heber Butts (1877-1939) published his paper "Insanity in the Navy" in the Naval Medical Bulletin. Butts a professor at the Naval Medical School and attending physician at St. Elizabeths Hospital, looked at the rank, rate, age, condition, and even etiology of Sailors and Marines under treatment at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. He identified alcoholism, heat/sunstroke/tropical climate and syphilis as the leading causes of mental disorders and also included “hardships of war,” “mental strain,” “mental stress,” “worry,” and “moral shock” as separate causative factors. And although not listed in the standard Navy nomenclature, Butts suggested reclassifying diagnoses “acute mania” and “acute melancholia” as “manic-depressive psychosis.” According to his study, Butts found that coal passers, firemen and seaman suffered the highest rate of mental illness in the Navy while Marine Corps privates accounted for the largest number of psychiatric patients (125 out of 528). Butts would later go on to develop a system of psychological screening for naval recruits.
Necessity invariably breeds invention. In 1910, while facing an infestation of vermin aboard USS Monterey, and lacking even the rudimentary pied piper, one machinist mate developed a so-called "Rat Eradicator." Passed Assistant Surgeon F.M Munson reported that Navy Machinist G.L. Russell developed and successfully used a device for eradicating the rat menace aboard USS Monterey. Munson described the device as follows: “The apparatus consists of a piece of dry wood one-half inch thick, 2 inches wide and long enough to extend the width of a door, resting on the sill. Upon this piece of wood is screwed two pieces of three-eighths inch copper. Spaced 1 inch apart, each strip being connected, respectively, to the positive and negative electric-light wires by means of the ordinary attachment plug. The rat on entering a room must naturally step from one copper strip to the other, causing a short circuit through its body, which instantly kills it. A voltage of 110 is necessary for the successful working of this apparatus.”
In 1910, Medical officers aboard the battleships USS Maryland and New York become among the first to use an X-ray apparatus. Physicians also begin to experiment with electric temperature control of incubators for the purpose of diagnosis and vaccine treatment.
In February 1910, Theodore Roosevelt’s General Order 6 (January 1909) calling for regular athletic trials for military officers is over turned. In addition to inspiring a spirit of “strenuous life” among some, General Order No. 6 also inspired a dedicated flock of critics. Surgeon General Charles Stokes reported to the new SECNAV George von Meyer on August 15, 1910 that “After 18 months it has been plainly demonstrated that the objects sought for have not been attained. On the other hand much harm has been done to the service through the enforcement of this order.” Stokes recommended shorter walks (25 miles in two days) and an “exercise period for physical betterment” following the tenants outlined in the book My System (1904) by Danish gymnastics educator Jørgen Peter Müller’s book.
Approved by President Taft on December 14, 1910, Navy General Order 94 set forth that all Navy and Marine Corps officers were now required to take the examination which will now take place quarterly. Officers would be required to walk twenty five miles in two consecutive days (five hours allowed for each day).