William H. Park

William Hallock Park (1863–1939) 300

William Hallock Park (1863–1939) was an American Immunologist.

Fifth president of the American Association of Immunologists (1918-1919) and head of the diagnostic laboratory of the New York City Department of Health for 42 years from 1894 to 1936.

Park oversaw the development of a major breakthrough in the treatment and prevention of diphtheria with the mass-produced antitoxin derived from the Park-Williams No. 8 strain, isolated in his laboratory by Anna W. Williams (1863 – 1954)


Biography
  • Born on December 30, 1863 in New York City
  • 1886 – MD from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • 1887 – Residency at the Roosevelt Hospital in New York City
  • 1889-1890 Postdoctoral fellow in Vienna
  • 1892 – Bacteriological diagnostician of diphtheria at the New York City Department of Health
  • 1892–1932 Visiting bacteriologist at the Willard Parker Hospital
  • 1894-1936 Director of the New York City Department of Health diagnostic research laboratory. Director of the Bureau of Laboratories from 1910
  • 1901–1933 Professor of bacteriology and hygiene, University and Bellevue Hospital College of Medicine
  • 1916–1935 Advisory Board of the Journal of Immunology
  • 1918-1919 President of the American Association of Immunologists.
  • 1933–1937 Chair of the Department of Microbiology, NYU College of Medicine
  • 1936 – Retired. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia honored his singular achievements in public health research by naming the New York City Health Department laboratory after him.
  • 1937–1939 Herman M. Biggs Professor of Preventive Medicine, NYU College of Medicine
  • Awards: Sedgwick Medal, American Public Health Association (1932); Public Welfare Medal, National Academy of Sciences (1932); Townsend Harris Medal, College of the City of New York (1935); Distinguished Service Medal, Theodore Roosevelt Association (1935); George M. Kober Medal, Association of American Physicians (1937)
  • Died on April 6, 1939 in New York City

Medical Eponyms
Park-Williams bacillus (1894)

In 1894, Park, in collaboration with Anna Williams, isolated a new strain of diphtheria [Park-Williams No. 8; Park 8] that was used to create a much improved diphtheria antitoxin. The strain was identified from a mild case of tonsillar diphtheria and proved crucial to the development of a high yield anti-toxin for diphtheria.

Park-Williams fixative

A fixative for spirochetes, comprised of a 2% solution of osmic acid. The bacteria are exposed to the fumes of the solution for a few seconds.


Key Medical Contributions
Typhoid Mary

Park was amongst the first (along with Koch) to recognize the existence of human healthy carriers of microbial agents. Park first observed it in diphtheria and later in typhoid fever. In 1907, Major George Albert Soper II (1870-1948), a New York sanitation engineer, of the first typhoid carrier, in 1907, resulted from the investigation of Mary Mallon, who was responsible for numerous outbreaks of typhoid in the households in which she had worked as a cook.

I wanted to have her [Mary Mallon] excretions examined by Dr. William H. Park at the Department’s Research Laboratory. I called Mary a living culture tube and chronic typhoid germ producer. I said she was a proved menace to the community. It was impossible to deal with her in a reasonable and peaceful way, and if the Department meant to examine her, it must be prepared to use force and plenty of it.

Soper 1939

Park recorded the persistent presence of viable typhoid bacilli in repeated cultures of her feces and urine. Subsequent monitoring of 68 typhoid convalescents showed that about 6 per cent of them continued to harbor the organism. Park reported on this situation and commented further on the cook whose stool cultures continued to be loaded with typhoid bacilli after 16 months of isolation and despite vigorous treatment with intestinal antiseptics.

On March 20, 1007, a cook was brought to the laboratory to have the feces and urine examined. The history as developed by Soper revealed the fact that during the past eight years she had been employed in eight families and in seven “of these typhoid fever had broken out within a few weeks or months of her arrival. In all twenty-six eases and one death occurred. Just before her removal to the Department of Health two cases had developed in the family where she resided and one patient died. Bactériologie examination revealed the fact that fully 30 per cent, of all the bacteria voided with the feces were typhoid bacilli. The urine was negative. Careful cultural and agglutination tests showed that they differed in no respect from bacilli obtained from acute cases. The repeated outbreaks occurring after her entrance in families were in themselves proof that the virulence of the bacilli had remained intact. A curious feature of the ease is that the woman denies that she ever had typhoid fever.

Park 1908

The case of this woman brings up many interesting problems. Has the city a right to deprive her of her liberty for perhaps her whole life? The alternative is to turn loose on the public a woman, who is known to have infected at least twenty-eight persons.

Park 1908

Major Publications

References

Biography

Eponymous terms


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Graduated from Cardiff Medical School in 2017 with MBBCh and BSc in Psychology and Medicine. Currently working as a doctor in the emergency department at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Australia.

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and informatics. Asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | vocortex |

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