By Peter Kennedy
“As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.” – Ecclesiastes 10:1.
When Wilhelm Rontgen discovered the X-ray in 1895, the news swept not just the medical community, but the media as well. That’s how 30-year-old Elizabeth Fleischmann-Aschheim learned about the discovery that captivated her imagination. Though she never completed high school, she decided to learn all about radiophotography and she became a very skilled radiographer in just a year, thanks to help from her brother-in-law, who was a physician.
Fleischmann opened California’s very first X-ray laboratory in San Francisco, making her the first radiographer in the state. These accomplishments were no small feat in the late 1800s, especially for a woman.
Fleischmann and her brother-in-law performed many X-ray experiments, sometimes involving hours of radiation exposure. But from early on, it was clear that X-ray exposure was dangerous: More than 20 radiologists and X-ray manufacturers had reported severe injuries after repeated or long-term exposure by the end of 1896.
Despite the evidence that radiologists should take safety precautions, Fleischmann refused to wear protective gear, because she was afraid it would scare off her patients. She paid for that stubbornness with her life. In 1905, after 7 years of practice with x-rays, she died from radiation poisoning when she was only 46 years old.
Foolishness can take lives. Today in prayer, ask Jesus to give you wisdom in all that you do so you may bring honor and glory to Him.
“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.” – Charles H. Spurgeon
God’s Word: “Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly.” – Proverbs 13:16.