Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thank a Bureaucrat Day

I doubt if there is such a thing as “Thank a Bureaucrat Day”, but there ought to be, especially in these times when it is popular on all sides to castigate, denigrate, and demonize those whose life work is spent in the public sector, as if they were the collective author of all the evils that befall us individually and collectively.

There isn't such a day, I fear, but if there were, for possibly the Best Bureaucrat Ever, I would like to nominate Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey and the FDA.

There isn't such a day, but if there were, this would be my nominating speech:

If you were born in the United States and you are a Baby Boomer, thank the Food & Drug Administration of the federal government and especially thank Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey.

Because you were born in the United States and because of Dr. Kelsey’s actions, you were saved from the horrors of Thalidomide.  

Thalidomide was a drug prescribed to pregnant women in the late 1950's and early 1960's in Europe, Canada and other places in the world to combat morning sickness.

Thalidomide resulted in horrific birth defects in the children born to these women, including children born with no arms or legs, even in cases where the pregnant mother took only one dose of the drug.

As a reviewer for the FDA, Dr. Kelsey refused to approve Thalidomide for sale in the United States, having concerns about the drug’s safety.  

Because of the simple heroism of doing her job well, Dr. Kelsey saved countless Baby Boomers and their families from the tragedy wreaked on the less fortunate babies born elsewhere.

Dr. Kelsey is a naturalized citizen, so perhaps this should also be ‘Thank an Immigrant Day’.

I was born just a few short years before the efforts to have Thalidomide sold in the U. S. came to fruition before the FDA.  And I, for one, am glad that people like Dr. Kelsey serve their country from behind a desk somewhere largely unknown to me, looking out for my best interests.

And by the way, if you’re a Christian, it doesn’t hurt to remember that we are called to dwell in a spirit not of condemnation, but of gratitude.  So let us be thankful for all the many Dr. Kelseys among us.  After all, they are our neighbors.  And even when we don't know it, they're often busy at the business of saving our lives.

SOURCES: Wikipedia on Dr. Kelsey Wikipedia on Thalidomide Toxipedia on Thalidomide Toxipedia on Dr. Kelsey  Romans 6.14

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