PBS Foundation

As support for the pilot of a six-part, fact-based historical drama about how the Civil War drove innovations in medical science to air on PBS and Video on Demand along with a major educational outreach campaign

  • Amount $1,000,000
  • City Alexandria, VA
  • Investigator Beth Hoppe
  • Year 2013
  • Program Public Understanding
  • Sub-program Television

This grant provides partial support to the for the development and broadcast of a major, fact-based dramatic television series about how the Civil War led to major advances in medical science, including spurring innovations in emergency medicine, surgery, and epidemiology.  The bloodiest armed conflict in U.S. history, the Civil War claimed two lives from infection and disease for every life lost to injury or gunshot wound.  The series will depict historical figures like Dr. Jonathan Letterman, the father of battlefield medicine who developed the ambulance corps and the three stage evacuation system still in use today.  Other characters will include Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross; Dr. W.W. Keen, a celebrated neurosurgeon; and pharmaceutical entrepreneur Edward Squibb.  These figures will provide dramatic examples of how the exigencies created by the need to treat wounded and dying soldiers led to pioneering advances in trauma care, anesthesia, neurosurgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and prosthetics.

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