Heartbeats of the City (PDF)
Original story posted June 2019. Subsequent edits/additions made. Use this landing page if you'd like to be sure you are reading the latest version. The PDF file name will change accordingly but not the URL for this page.
It is the 1920's in Jersey City, NJ. A practical-minded family doctor is testing an adaptive piece of equipment he devised that he hopes will send a patient's heartbeats "live" over a telephone line from her home several blocks away to an electrocardiogram device (ECG) in his office. Bam. It works splendidly. His idea predated similar technology by decades, but history seems to have forgotten about it. The story documents Dr. Jaffin's medical first, as well as his greater focus on fighting tuberculosis, a disease ravaging inner cities at the time. It also offers perspective on the doctor's complicated alliance with the notorious mayor Frank Hague, the 30-year "Boss" of Jersey City, who by hook and by crook built a prestigious, monumentally-scaled medical center that never sent a bill to generations of Jersey City residents who received care there.