Healing Kentucky: Medicine in the Bluegrass State

By Nancy Disher Baird | Go to book overview

9
You Could Die of Dog Smell
A Hospital for Morehead

In 1945 the small mountain town of Morehead, Kentucky, was “just a dot on a muddy road” in Rowan County. Some of the people who lived in Rowan County worked in the lumber and clay mining businesses. A few worked at Morehead Normal School and Teachers College. Unfortunately, some had no jobs.

Louise Caudill was one of the first doctors in the area. When she opened her office in 1945, many people doubted that a woman could be a good doctor. However, her friends and neighbors told their friends and neighbors how much they liked this woman doctor. Soon, Dr. Louise had too many patients. Some came to her office, but for those who could not, she made house calls. To visit some of her patients, she and her nurse drove their jeep on rocky mountain roads or rode horses or mules across streams and on narrow trails. Sometimes they had to walk for part of the trip. “Once we even went in a sled,” she told a friend.

Dr. Louise often took care of 35–40 people in one day, most of whom paid their medical bills with chickens, eggs, and vegetables. She took care of their bad colds, measles, chicken pox, burns, broken bones, gunshot wounds, cancers, and childbirths. She even treated a man who swallowed his false teeth!

Some of her patients were women who only sent for her when

-41-

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