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Famous Communists

Dr. Norman Bethune Norman Bethune was a Canadian doctor who sacrificed himself for worthy causes around the world. Bethune first attempted to socialize the medical system in Canada. He then joined the Spanish Civil War, and later travelled to China to assist the Red Army. From 1928 to 1936, Bethune worked as a thoracic surgeon in Montreal. He became famous there for his treatment of tuberculosis patients. Although he cured hundreds of cases successfully, many of his poorer patients became ill again when they returned to crowded, unsanitary homes. Bethune realized they could not be cured without proper living conditions and medical care. He wanted the medical system to provide the same level of health care for everyone. Bethune, and others with similar ideas, developed a plan for socialized medicine. However, when they presented it to the government they received a strong negative reaction. Bethune became unpopular among other doctors who thought his ideas were too radical. In the winter of 1936, Bethune volunteered to help the Spanish Loyalists fight for democracy in the Spanish Civil War. He gave up his position as a famous surgeon to establish a mobile blood transfusion service. The service collected blood from donors and delivered it to hospitals and to soldiers at the battlefront. On many occasions, Bethune risked his life to deliver blood to the front line. In 1938, Bethune went to China to help Mao Tse-tung and the Red Army fight the Japanese. He became the Red Army's Medical Chief and trained thousands of Chinese as medics and doctors. He also designed the world's first mobile medical unit despite limited equipment. The unit saved the lives of many soldiers. Unfortunately, Bethune soon lost his life assisting the Chinese. He died on November 12, 1939, from an infection. The world lost a great unselfish hero with Bethune's death.


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