Pfiesteria: Crossing Dark Water - The True Story Behind the Pfiesteria Menace That Now Threatens the Nation's Tidal Waters

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9780966553505: Pfiesteria: Crossing Dark Water - The True Story Behind the Pfiesteria Menace That Now Threatens the Nation's Tidal Waters
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Pfiesteria: Crossing Dark Water tells the true story of this public health menace. It describes how the "doc from Pocomoke" made the first confirmed diagnosis of human illness, and then developed the first successful treatment for victims of the disease. Dr. Shoemaker explains how the conclusions of a blue ribbon state commission -- which blamed pfiesteria blooms on runoff of nutrients from chicken farms -- were not supported by water quality tests done by the State of Maryland. At the same time, the doctor's own "predator-prey" theories of pfiesteria show how simple substitution of agricultural fungicides and copper in animal feeds could prevent pfiesteria blooms in the Chesapeake Bay. He also demonstrates how a simple nontoxic chemical can be used to stop active toxin production in a kill area.

This is the story of how one physician took on an entrenched bureaucracy, challenged environmental dogma and won.

Pfiesteria: Crossing Dark Water is a story of media, politics, economics, medicine and a remarkable scientific discovery.

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About the Author:

Ritchie C. Shoemaker, M.D., a family physician from Pocomoke, Maryland, was a key figure in the 1997 pfiesteria debate. Dr. Shoemaker pushed the State of Maryland to be the first to declare that exposure to the toxin of pfiesteria piscicida makes people sick.

Dr. Shoemaker graduated magna cum laude from Duke University in 1973 with a B.S. in molecular biology and a minor in philosophy. While attending Duke Medical School, Dr. Shoemaker concentrated on public health studies and epidemiology. He also launched a journal for medical students -- First Contact -- that achieved national distribution during his term as editor.

After graduating from medical school in 1977, Dr. Shoemaker completed his medicine residency in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where he designed a rural health care system. His interests in rural primary care medicine led him to Pocomoke City, located at the extreme southern of Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Dr. Shoemaker has practiced in Pocomoke City since 1980. He and his friends have built award-winning nature trails in the region, along with both non-tidal wetland and tidal wetland gardens.

His wife JoAnn teaches kindergarten at the local public school. Daughter Sally trains and cares for her horses at the family home along the Pocomoke River, where her formative years have been enriched by science, photography, and music.

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