A reader writes:
In regards to the Victorian post-mortem photographs, notice how very, very many of them are children. Sometimes infants, sometimes toddlers or school-age kids, but children. Not teenagers who might have been working (it was the Victorian era, after all), not young adults who might have died by violence that perhaps they might have been partially responsible for. Children. I'm an ICU physician in a busy pediatric intensive care unit. I've seen enough children die to last me the rest of my or anybody else's life. I'm as aware as anyone what an awful, nearly-irrecoverable mess we in this country have made of the environment, of national and global politics, of the economy.
But one thing tells me that there's a chance for humanity - so many fewer dead children. Almost any kid in this country can get a vaccine. Very few - not none, but few - children in this country grow up with unsanitary water. If you show up in an ER with a serious infection, you'll get treated. Questions about money might come later, but the treatment will nearly always happen. It's not a perfect fix by any stretch. But when a child dies now, it's not a family photograph, it's news.