Shattuck, S. F., et. al (ed.) / A history of Neenah
Neenah's medical history from 1878 to 1957, pp. 361-367 PDF (1.6 MB)
NEENAH'S MEDICAL HISTORY FROM 1878 TO 1957 DURING the time covered by Mr. Cunningham in his history of Nee- nah, and a few years beyond 1878, it was apparently quite easy to obtain a license to practice medicine. In the few states requiring a permit, political influence, rather than knowledge, was often an im- portant requirement. Many of the men professing to be physicians had never attended a medical school. They had managed to become a "Doctor of Medicine" as far as the trusting public was concerned merely by assisting an older doctor for a period. Neenah, however, was most fortunate that the majority of its early doctors were graduates of the best medical schools of that day. Each one was dentist, oculist, obstetrician, surgeon, internal medicine spe- cialist, psychiatrist and counselor. He used comparatively few drugs. There was a folding black leather case that fitted into his special back coat-tail pocket. Contained in its tiny glass bottles were carried most of the drugs used in average calls. Paregoric, Dover's powder, quinine, morphine, bismuth, calomel and salol were a few of these standbys. He also carried a bag containing dressings, instruments, chloroform and occasionally wooden-handled forceps. There was always a bottle of carbolic acid to use for sterilization. Aseptic surgery, the important contribution of Lord Lister, was not yet in use. The administration of anesthetics was still in a crude stage. There were only vague ideas concerning hemorrhage and infections. Smallpox was the only infec- tious disease the profession knew how to combat. It is doubtful if any of our young men of today can appreciate the physical endurance required of these older generations of doctors. The long country rides, either in a buggy or on a saddle, over makeshift roads, were exhausting. There was a fairly good dirt road going toward Winchester as far as "Bailey's Corners," now Ridgeway golf course. Often a doctor's horse would be tied to a post at this place for hours, while his less fortunate master waded through mud, marsh land and often snow drifts to some early settler's home and back. 361
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