Penicillin. Help Others – Help Yourself. Facts & Fables

By now you may have heard this partly fairy tale but it is worth to repeat it. Not word for word, but in the sense I want you to listen and understand. It sounds unbelievable.

One day a poor Scottish farmer with the name Hugh Fleming heard a cry of someone for help. It turned out that a boy (born 30 November 1874) was up to his waist in black mud, incapable to help himself out and destined to a slow death. The farmer, who followed the voice, helped the boy out of his dangerous situation.

The next day a carriage from an obvious rich person stopped at his home and a so called nobleman stepped out. He was the father of the boy the farmer Fleming has saved.

This nobleman wanted to pay the farmer for his help but Fleming refused. For him helping other peoples was naturally and did not required any kind of payment.

While those two adults talked, the son of the farmer (born 6 August 1881) appeared from he house. He was seven years older than the boy his father has saved.

The nobleman recognized this and he changed his strategy. Instead of offering money, he offered education. He said, the boy of Fleming will get the same education like his son as he believes that the son of the farmer Fleming will undoubtful develop to the same kind of person as his farther was.

The farmer Fleming agreed. It was an offer of a lifetime. What else he could offer to his son?

Actually, according to the biography, Penicillin Man, the story above is a fable and false. But think about it…it could have happened.

In any case, Alec Fleming, his sun, attended the Loudoun Moor School, the Darvel School, and earned a two-year scholarship to Kilmarnock Academy before moving to London where he attended the Royal Polytechnic Institution and later the Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London. He became Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin in 1928! That brought him a shared Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945.

The aristocratic man’s son developed years later pneumonia – and what helped him? The Penicillin from Sir Alexander Fleming. But this statement is a fable, too. Churchill was saved by Lord Moran, using sulfonamides, since he had no experience with penicillin at this time. But without doubt, penicillin help millions throughout the world since then.

The nobleman talked earlier was Lord Randolph Churchill and his son became Sir Winston Churchill, the British prime minister of the UK who served two terms. One term during the Second World War 1940-45 and a second term after it in 1951-55. Perhaps not so known, he got also the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The story may be a fairy tale to some degree and not exactly after the facts but helping others can make circles you never thought about. We should do so without thinking to much about possible benefits for ourselves.

penicillin, sir alexander fleming, sulfonamides, lord moran, british prime minister, second world war, sir winston churchill


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