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Brushes with Death

  • Posted 08.07.14
  • NOVA

In 1930, Dorothy Roseman turned seven, and she'd already survived measles, chicken pox, scarlet fever and whooping cough. She can't believe anyone refuses vaccinations—for themselves or for their children—today.

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Transcript

Brushes with Death

Posted: September 5, 2014

[Dorothy Roseman was born in Philadelphia in 1923, before many of the routine vaccinations available today were discovered.]

ROSEMAN: I had two kinds of measles—I had one when I was, I think around 6 years old. And the other one I was a senior in high school. I was 17.

And then I had chicken pox, whooping cough, scarlet fever. [laughs] I missed polio, thank God. But I had all those others when I was around 6 and 7. And they used to quarantine you. They had the quarantine signs on the windows, and you dare not go anywhere. So I missed school.

Of course with the scarlet fever, I had to go into a hospital for a month. They had a hospital for infectious diseases. And I don't know if you want to know this, but I got pneumonia at the same time and almost died.

When I was ten years old going into the fifth grade, school was not open until October 'cause they had a polio scare. So schools were closed for a month. And fortunately, I didn't get it but members of my family did. And one of them—a brilliant young girl—just was ruined for life afterwards.

There are many young people who died or are left scarred in some way or another…

[Today, vaccinations are available for all of these diseases. And it's hard for Roseman to understand why anyone wouldn't vaccinate their children.]

ROSEMAN: I think parents are crazy. I really do.

Many of the young parents have their minds made up. And if they saw, or if they knew what had happened in those days. But you see, most of them had shots. They didn't grow up as we did. You know, I'm gonna be 89 in September.

I think you owe it to your child to protect your child from these diseases. Because if you don't do it and other people don't do it, you will have an epidemic again.

We've been blessed with having these shots, and I think that the young people should realize how important it is.

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IMAGE:

Image credit: (Dorothy Roseman)
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