I was reading an old newspaper story (from the 1920s) about a goat-gland operation in New York City, and decided to google "goat glands."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_R._Brinkley
In 1918, Brinkley opened a 16-room clinic in Milford [Kansas], where he won over the locals immediately by paying good wages, invigorating the local economy and making house calls on patients afflicted with the virulent and deadly outbreak of the 1918 flu pandemic. For all his later infamy as a charlatan, accounts of his success at nursing flu victims back to health, and the lengths to which he went to treat them, were resoundingly positive.
At his clinic, Brinkley began to perform operations he claimed would restore male virility and fertility through implanting the testicular glands of goats in his male patients at a cost of $750 per operation (a little over $10,800 in 2009, adjusted for inflation).
Following one of his crude operations, the body of a patient would typically absorb the goat gonads as foreign matter. The organs were never accepted as part of the body since they were simply placed into the human male testicle sac or the abdomen of women, near the ovaries. Unsurprisingly, in light of his questionable medical training (75 percent completion at a less-than-reputable medical school), frequency of operating while intoxicated and less-than sterile operating environments, some patients suffered from infection, and an undetermined number died. Brinkley would be sued more than a dozen times for wrongful death between 1930 and 1941.
Soon after Brinkley opened up shop, he scored an advertising coup that made major newspapers come calling: His first goat gland transplantation patient's wife gave birth to a baby boy. Brinkley began promoting goat glands as a cure for 27 ailments, ranging from dementia to emphysema to flatulence. He started a direct mail blitz and hired an advertising agent, who helped Brinkley portray his treatments as turning hapless men into "the ram that am with every lamb."
His burst of publicity—and his stratospheric claims—attracted the attention of the American Medical Association, which sent an agent to the clinic to investigate undercover. The agent found a woman hobbling around Brinkley's clinic who had been given goat ovaries as a cure for a spinal cord tumor. From then on, Brinkley was on the AMA's radar, including catching the eye of the doctor that would eventually be responsible for his downfall, Morris Fishbein, who made his career exposing medical frauds.
At the same time, other doctors were also experimenting with gland transplantation, including Serge Voronoff, who had become known for grafting monkey testicles into human men. In 1920 Voronoff demonstrated his technique before several other doctors at a hospital in Chicago, at which Brinkley showed up uninvited.
Though Brinkley was barred at the door, his appearance elevated his profile in the press, which eventually resulted in his own demonstration at a hospital in Chicago. Brinkley transplanted goat testicles into 34 patients, including a judge, an alderman, a society matron and the chancellor of the University of Chicago Law School, all while the press looked on. His public profile grew, and his gland business in Milford continued at a brisk pace.
In 1922, Brinkley traveled to Los Angeles at the invitation of Harry Chandler, owner of the Los Angeles Times, who challenged Brinkley to transplant goat testicles into one of his editors.
If the operation was a success, Chandler wrote, he would make Brinkley the "most famous surgeon in America," and if not then he should consider himself "damned."
California didn't recognize Brinkley's license to practice medicine from the Eclectic Medical University, but Chandler pulled some strings and got him a 30-day permit. The operation was judged a success, and Brinkley received his promised attention in Chandler's paper, which sent many new customers Brinkley's way, including some Hollywood film stars.
Brinkley was so taken with the city—and all the money it represented in the form of potential patients—that he began making plans to relocate his clinic there. But his hopes were dashed when the California medical board denied his application for a permanent license to practice medicine, having found his resume "riddled with lies and discrepancies" (most of which were discovered and pointed out to the board by Fishbein). Brinkley returned to Kansas undaunted and began to expand his clinic in Milford.
Brinkley began claiming his goat glands could also help male prostate problems, and expanded his business again. He also started a new radio segment called "Medical Question Box," where he would read listeners' medical complaints over the air and suggest proprietary treatments.
These treatments were only available at a network of pharmacies that were members of the the "Brinkley Pharmaceutical Association." These affiliated pharmacies sold Brinkley's over the counter medicines at highly inflated prices, sent a portion of their profit back to Brinkley and kept the rest. It is estimated that this generated $14,000 in profit weekly for Brinkley, or about $6.5 million a year in 2008 dollars.
Reports of patients who took Brinkley's suggested treatments showing up sick at another doctor's office began to grow, and eventually Merck pharmaceuticals, whose medicines Brinkley routinely misprescribed, requested Fishbein take action; the AMA responded that they had no power over Brinkley, save to try to inform the public.
The Kansas City Star, which owned a radio station that competed with Brinkley's, ran an unfavorable series of reports on him. By 1930, when the Kansas Medical Board held a formal hearing to decide whether Brinkley's medical license should be revoked, Brinkley had signed death certificates for 42 people, many of whom were not sick when they showed up at his clinic. It is unclear how many more of Brinkley's patients may have become ill or later died elsewhere.
In the same year the Federal Radio Commission refused to renew his station’s broadcasting license. He sued the commission, and the case Brinkley v. FRC became a landmark case in broadcast law.
By the way, one wonders.
What is a "Mexican border blaster" as pertains, apparently, to radio broadcasting?
I mean, I can guess, but I'm still not sure.