Pioneers and Heroes; The History of Medicine in New Jersey is Executive produced by Barry S. Prystowsky, M.D. and Produced/Edited by Patrick M. Mirucki.
Pioneers and Heroes is a documentary on the lives of New Jersey Physicians serving in both peacetime and wartime America.
Starting from the inception of the Medical Society of New Jersey in 1766 just after the French and Indian War, physicians organized to protect citizens from the wondering medical quacks.
Live actors portray members of the Medical Society taking dialogue directly from the diary and journal entries written in the notes of the Medical Society by its secretary.
The documentary begins with a good friend of George Washington, who was given the nickname “Bones” by George Washington. He was one of the founding members of the Medical Society. One of the scenes shows Bones in front of his hospital in Morristown New Jersey discussing small pox vaccines as ordered by General Washington.
After the Revolutionary War the Medical Society changed its charter which was setup under King George to a charter under the new American government.
The next dialogue finds physicians in Essex County New Jersey restarting their county medical society after the war of 1812. Next we find ourselves in the Civil War with more stories of our Physician soldiers who served bravely at the battles of Gettysburg, Appomattox, Vicksburg and the Potomac. Their stories include finding a cure for scurvy, battling Cholera and marching with the wounded through marshes and yellow fever infected swamps.
Scenes after the Civil War talked about a past president of the Medical Society and former Governor of New Jersey who was President Lincoln’s personal doctor.
The next few scenes deal with the battles between Allopathic, Homeopathic and Osteopathic physicians. In fact the story of New Jersey medicine is founded in these fights to set standards of excellence in medicine.
From here the film quickly takes us through glimpses of the horrors of the bird flu, the ill affects of an industrialized America through FDR’s programs of recovery and the discovery of penicillin as weapon in war.
The film ends with one of the heroes of desert storm who gives an over view of modern day medicine in warfare including his attempts to prepare the soldiers against gas attacks.