Medicine: After Damien

His famous leprosarium is dying of success

Pope Paul VI approved a decree this summer citing "the heroic virtues" of Father Damien, the first step on the road toward sainthood for the Belgian-born missionary. Famed for his devotion to victims of leprosy in Hawaii, Father Damien followed a calling that led to his death from the disease. Now the leprosarium that he made famous, Kalaupapa, is dying of attrition—and for the most welcome reasons: new cases of the disease have become rare among ethnic Hawaiians and part-Hawaiians, and leprosy can be treated so successfully...

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