Benjamin Rush, MD
The RUSH name has a long history in American Medicine.  William Rushs' ancestor, Benjamin Rush, played a profound role in the birth of medical care during the American Revolution of 1776.  Noted physician Benjamin Rush was a signer of the Declaration of Independance, teacher, and political writer who led reform of many medical problems in the Continental Army.  
 
                                                                         FIRST  U.S. SURGEON  GENERAL
Dr. Benjamin Rush entered the army as the first Surgeon General.  He saw much unnecessary loss of life.  When Dr. Rush saw something he disagreed with, he wasted no time in making sure everyone knew about the problems.  After touring some of the military camps and hospitals soon after his commission, Rush saw that ignorance of preventive medicine was leading to disease and ill health among soldiers.  He published an article entitled "Directions for Preserving the Health of Soldiers, addressed to the officers of the Army of the United States." Rush made points that might seem obvious to us today, but at the time were pioneering thoughts in American military hygiene.  One such recommendation  was to replace rum with water laced with vinegar.  The consumption of vinegar causes perspiration to smell like vinegar, and mosquitoes, the carrier of many diseases, are repelled by it.  While Dr. Rush did not understand how bacteria and parasites caused diseases, his powers of observation enabled him to often still get the answer right.  Years later, his military medical policies were used by the military in the War of 1812.  In 1865 the Massachusetts Temperance Alliance reprinted his text for distribution to Union Soldiers.
 

 

 

                                   MEDICAL  HALL  OF  FAME
Besides his efforts on behalf of the soldiers, Doctor Rush was famous for much much more.  He was the first named in the Medical Hall of Fame.  He helped found five universities and colleges.  He was a member of the Pennsylvania state convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution.  He taught chemistry at the first medical school in America.  He is considered the "father of American Psychiatry". in honor of his pioneering and sympathetic work with the mentally ill patients at the Philadelphia hospital. 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                 POLITICAL  LEADER
He was a prolific and witty writer, and friend of Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams.  He authored many publications in his lifetime.  In the early 1770s, he wrote copiously about colonial rights and the evils of tyranny.  Later he turned his attention to slavery, education, religion, death penalty, morality Pennsylvanian commerce and social structure, botany and religious ethics.  He wrote " I beg leave to remark that the only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion.  Without this, there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments."  As a signer of the Declaration of Independence, today he might have something to say about what the signers intent really was when they proclaimed a "separation of church and state". 
 
Devoted to life and liberty.  Although rash and sometimes indiscreet, Benjamin Rush pursued causes he deemed important with verve and tenacity.  An outspoken proponent of liberty, he signed the Declaration of Independence.  A well educated and dedicated physician, he healed rich and poor alike.  Concerned for the welfare of his new countries army, he worked hard to reform the army medical department.
 
On his deathbed, his last words to his son Dr. James Rush, he stated "Be indulgent to the poor".  John Adams wrote to his other son Richard, the following eulogy:  "he has done more good in this world than Franklin and Washington".  Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams: "Another of our friends of seventy-six is gone, my dear Sir, another of the co-signers of the Independence of our country.  And a better man than Rush could not have left us, more benevolent, more learned, or finer genius, or more honest."