We all know the names of the evil mass murderers of the 20th Century: Stalin, Hitler, Mao. Yet few of us, me included, know the name of a man who saved millions of lives. His name is Dr. Maurice Hilleman, who died in 2005. He invented the M.M.R. vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella.
According to an article of May 7th, 2013 in the New York Times, researchers today credit him with having saved more lives than any other scientist of the 20th Century. Besides the M.M.R. vaccine:
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is himself a legend in US medical science for his leadership and discoveries in treatments for HIV/AIDS (among other things). He was a close friend of the late Dr. Hilleman. Said Dr. Fauci of Dr. Hilleman’s astounding work which saved millions, “one person did that! …Truly amazing.”
Each morning we awake to yet another chronicle of disaster in the previous 24 hours: war, terrorism, deaths of our fellow man from disease or incompetence, dishonesty, chicanery, cruelty. Only rarely do we come across a news story about someone who spent his life helping people, healing the sick, devoting their lives to the betterment of humanity. Dr. Hilleman was such a man. He died in 2005. He deserves to be remembered.