I enjoyed the article on the Serra route by Ronald Ives in the Fall, 1975 issue of the Journal of San Diego History. It shows very careful workmanship, but it contains an error in attributing Father Serra’s leg troubles to an infectious disease, as evidenced by the author’s remark: “What change in the course of history would a few milligrams of penicillin have made at this point?”
Father Serra’s leg troubles were not due to an infectious disease but to varicose veins, which in turn led to varicose ulcers. The treatment of these ulcers is the treatment of the varicose veins, and the treatment of varicose veins is to empty them by elevation of the leg and by compression of the lesions. Penicillin is of no value. We can still marvel at Father Serra’s dedication in walking a distance equal to that from San Diego to Denver with leg ulcers that required constant attention and no doubt caused much pain.
Clifford L. Graves, M.D.
La Jolla, California