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Happy Thanksgiving!

Ionarts already had a lot to be thankful for, and then the Detroit Lions went and won a Thanksgiving game over the Green Bay Packers. As a long-suffering Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers fan, Ionarts takes the opportunity to rejoice whenever he can and contents himself with also being a Detroit Red Wings fan.

Best wishes to everyone!

I've been thinking more about famous Washington hospitals. There is another beautiful old hospital building on Capitol Hill, the Old Naval Hospital on Pennsylvania Avenue. There was a proposal to save this building by converting it into a residence for the Mayor of the District of Columbia, but for now the building is abandoned and closed up (although I do occasionally see lights on inside there some nights: who knows why?). Most of these old hospitals were built during the Civil War, when demand for medical care far exceeded the city's rudimentary hospital system. I like to think of these buildings also as the haunts of Walt Whitman, the Good Gray Poet as William O'Connor named him in 1865. Whitman came to Washington to care for his wounded soldier brother and stayed to help with the war effort by spending time with the wounded. He went to almost all of the city's hospitals, including the Old Naval Hospital and Saint Elizabeths, but concentrated most of his time at Campbell Hospital and Armory Square Hospital, neither of which is still standing today. (See Whitman's Drum Taps and Washington's Civil War Hospitals, by Angel Price; and Traveling with the Wounded: Walt Whitman and Washington's Civil War Hospitals, by Martin G. Murray; Whitman's Drum-Taps will soon be available from the Walt Whitman Hypertext Archive; for now you can read Drum-Taps from LiteratureClassics.)

If you want to know more than you ever thought possible about historic medicine in the nation's capital, take a look at this Tour of Historic Medical Sites in Washington, D.C., from the U.S. National Library of Medicine out in Bethesda.

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