Physicals: Ellis Island Style

For your Friday Diversion, we direct you to Sawbones: For the unfamiliar, it’s a rollicking podcast by married physician duo Sydnee and Justin McElroy about all the “dumb, bad, gross, weird and wrong ways” medicine has tried to fix people.
This week’s topic has a timely bent: The hoops faced by immigrants to America (specifically the medical hoops faced by the ~21 million coming through Ellis Island between 1885 and 1920). For the doctors at the gates, that meant 6-second physicals (based on indicators like whether immigrants were able to lug their luggage up the stairs without getting winded).
The toughest hurdle the immigrants faced: The Eye Men, who lifted eyelids to check for signs of infection (without washing their index fingers in between exams). Welcome to America!
Source: Sawbones

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