Medicine: Without Armor

Nobody knew much about the dangers of overexposure to X rays when a young intern named Percy Emerson Brown set up the X-ray department at Boston Children's Hospital. The year was 1903 and the X ray was only seven years old. As Dr. Brown later wrote, "Enthusiasm was in the saddle, accoutered with the lance of investigation and the spurs of continued experimental revelation, but not yet with the shield and armor of protection."

Within a year, young Dr. Brown's fingers and nails showed signs of damage; his hands and face became rough and scaly. Soon warty growths appeared. But Dr. Brown...

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