“When we pause to consider that here is a studious and altogether competent observer who has had 18 consecutive years of constant and exclusive leprosy practice among 800 to 500 patients, constituting one of the largest segregated colonies in the world, we begin to realize the value of his accumulated experience and his opinions as a leprologist.” (Report of the Governor of Hawaii, To the Secretary of the Interior, 1914)
William (Will) Joseph Arthur Goodhue was born October 4, 1868 in Quebec, Canada and graduated from Rush and Dartmouth Colleges in medicine. He went to Hawaiʻi in 1902 as an intern practicing on Kauaʻi.
He fell in love with Alice Saburo Hayashi, aged sixteen, and she ran off with him to Honolulu where he had been offered a job, and he set up a home with her in Pālama. A child (William Goodhue George) was born in 1903; William paid child support, but did not marry Alice.
Dr Goodhue and John D McVeigh assumed the positions of Resident Physician and Superintendent of Kalaupapa. Goodhue was not only a surgeon in the colony, but spent a great deal of time developing new treatments and improving upon old ones; several of his findings were published in medical journals.
In October 1905, Goodhue married Christina “Tina” Meyer, daughter of Henry and Victoria (Bannister) Meyer. Tina was grand-daughter of Rudolph Wilhelm Meyer, prior Superintendent of the Kalawao settlement (Kalaupapa) (who served with Father Damien and Mother Marianne Cope.)
Will and Tina had three children, all born at Kalaupapa: William Walter Goodhue, John D. Goodhue and Victoria Goodhue. They were later divorced.
Sister Leopoldina of Kalaupapa said of Goodhue, “We had been in the work nearly fifteen years and until Dr. Goodhue came we had never been assisted by a doctor only a very few times, as they were so much in dread of leprosy.”
“Dr. Goodhue, a true American brave and fearless, plunged into the work with strong will and whole heart doing wonderful work, and it became like a different place.”
The noted author, Jack London, visited the colony, and wrote of his friend, “Dr. Goodhue, the pioneer of leprosy surgery, is a hero who should receive every medal that every individual and every country has awarded for courage and life-saving. … I know of no other place … in the world, where the surgical work is being performed that Dr. Goodhue performs daily.”
“I have seen him take a patient, who in any other settlement or lazar house in the world, would from the complication of the disease die horribly in a week, or two weeks or three – I say, I have seen Dr. Goodhue, many times, operate on such a doomed creature, and give it life, not for weeks, not for months, but for years and years.”
But that is not all. Goodhue used Alice Ball’s treatment of using chaulmoogra oil at Kalaupapa; and out of the five hundred and twelve patients, one hundred and seventy-five have been taking regular treatment. (London)
(Ball isolated the ethyl ester of chaulmoogra oil (from the tree native to India) which, when injected, proved extremely effective in relieving some of the symptoms of Hansen’s disease. Although not a full cure, Ball’s discovery was a significant victory in the fight against a disease.)
Click HERE for a prior story on the research by Alice Ball.
Goodhue, speaking to members of the legislature visiting Kalaupapa in 1921, said, “With two years’ chaulmoogra oil treatment, I believe sixty-five per cent of the chronic cases of leprosy on Molokaʻi can be cured. And within ten years, all cases should be cured, and Kalaupapa be abandoned as a leper settlement.”
Once known as leprosy, the disease was renamed after Dr. Gerharad Armauer Hansen, a Norwegian physician, when he discovered the causative microorganism in 1873, the same year that Father Damien volunteered to serve at Kalaupapa.
Goodhue retired in 1925. He had contacted Hansen’s disease and left Hawaiʻi for Shanghai, China, to visit his son who was attending college there (he did not wish to be confined to the leper colony where he had worked all those years on Molokaʻi.)
He lived there on his pension and died of a heart attack on March 17, 1941. He had made the request that if he should not recover to bury him there. (Lots of info here from NPS.)
The image shows Kalawao, Molokaʻi (Kalaupapa in 1922.) In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
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