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Snakebite pioneer succumbs

February
05
1955

On this day in 1955, Martin Lalor Crimmins, noted herpetologist, army officer, and military historian, died in San Antonio. Born in New York, he attended Georgetown College and the University of Virginia Medical School but joined Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in San Antonio just before graduation. He began a distinguished career in the United States Army and achieved the rank of colonel in 1921. Though his military service took him across Europe and Asia, he retired to San Antonio in 1926. One of Crimmins's most noteworthy accomplishments was his pioneer work in snakebite treatment. He inoculated himself with serum until he became immune and then gave blood transfusions to snakebite victims. Crimmins assisted medical experts in research and lectured across the United States, and he also published numerous historical and scientific articles. His work earned him the prestigious Walter Reed Award in 1953.

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