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The pilot who changed medicine

May 13, 2020 4:36 pm


Pioneers in the field of medicine don’t always have a medical background. They can sometimes be engineers and even pilots too. One fine example is Forrest Bird, who was born in Massachusetts in 1921. His father, who had been a pilot during World War I, encouraged him to become a pilot from an early age and Forrest was just 14 years old when he performed his first flight alone.

By the time he was 16, he was training to complete a number of different major pilot certificates and enlisted in the U.S Army Air Corps. He went on active duty in 1941 as a technical air training officer. This position and the start of the Second World War gave him the opportunity to fly almost every type of aircraft in military service. This included the early jet aircrafts and helicopters.

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After the war, Bird attended a number of medical schools with various residencies but always technically minded, by 1955, he had invented a prototype Universal Medical Respirator for use on patients with acute or chronic cardiopulmonary conditions.

To test his new device, he flew himself around the country visiting medical schools and asking doctors to see the patients who were most ill. These patients were those who had been failed by current therapies and were expected to die from cardiopulmonary failure. Following this, he went on to invent the Baby Bird respirator for babies and toddlers. This helped to reduce the mortality rate from 70% to lower than 10% for infants with respiratory illnesses.

Mortality rates for a variety of illness that once took many lives such as STIs, have now greatly been reduced due to medical technology, testing such as the Chlamydia Testing kits Greenwich way from  https://www.checkurself.org.uk/plus/home_sti_kits/ and the introduction of new treatments such as antibiotics. Bird was one such pioneer with many others following suit.

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