July 3, 1900|
|Died||December 1, 1979(aged 79)|
|Other names||Dr. Feelgood|
|Known for||Treating celebrity clients|
Max Jacobson (July 3, 1900 – December 1, 1979) was a German-born New York physician, nicknamed "Miracle Max" and "Dr. Feelgood", who administered amphetamines and other medications to several high profile clients, including President John F. Kennedy.
After fleeing Berlin in 1936, Jacobson set up an office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where he treated many famous individuals including Yul Brynner, Truman Capote, Maya Deren, Cecil B. DeMille, Marlene Dietrich, Eddie Fisher, Alan Jay Lerner, Mickey Mantle, Marilyn Monroe, Zero Mostel, Elvis Presley, Anthony Quinn, Nelson Rockefeller, and Tennessee Williams. Dubbed "Dr. Feelgood", Jacobson was known for his "miracle tissue regenerator" shots, which consisted of amphetamines, animal hormones, bone marrow, enzymes, human placenta, painkillers, steroids, and multivitamins.
John F. Kennedy first visited Jacobson in September 1960, shortly before the 1960 presidential election debates. Jacobson was part of the Presidential entourage at the Vienna summit in 1961, where he administered injections to combat severe back pain. Some of the potential side effects included hyperactivity, impaired judgment, nervousness, and wild mood swings. Kennedy, however, was untroubled by FDA reports on the contents of Jacobson’s injections and proclaimed: "I don’t care if it’s horse piss. It works." Jacobson was used for the most severe bouts of back pain. By May 1962, Jacobson had visited the White House to treat the President thirty-four times.
By the late 1960s, Jacobson's behavior became increasingly erratic as his own amphetamine usage increased. He began working 24-hour days and was seeing up to 30 patients per day. In 1969, one of Jacobson's clients, former Presidential photographer Mark Shaw, died at the age of 47. An autopsy showed that Shaw had died of "acute and chronic intravenous amphetamine poisoning." Under questioning Jacobson's staff admitted to buying large quantities of amphetamines to give many high level doses. The Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs seized Jacobson's supply, and his medical license was revoked in 1975 by the New York State Board of Regents.
Jacobson attempted to regain his license in 1979 but was denied. A state spokesmen stated that the then 79-year-old Jacobson didn't seem ready to enter into the "mainstream of practice" again. Jacobson died in December that year.
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- Richard A. Lertzman & William J. Birnes (May 2013). Dr. Feelgood: The Shocking Story of the Doctor Who May Have Changed History by Treating and Drugging JFK, Marilyn, Elvis, and Other Prominent Figures. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-62087-589-6.