Dec 17, 2008

The Wild, Wild Doctoring in the Wild, Wild West

(NYTimes) - Bear attacks. Syphilis. Bullet wounds. Malaria. Scalpings. Cholera. Arrows shot into the skull. Scurvy. Rabies. Ax mishaps. Crushings by moving wagon wheels. Outsize tumors. Snake bites.
There were many ways to die in frontier America, plenty of them gruesome. In his new book, “Frontier Medicine,” the historian David Dary relates the story of westward expansion while examining these misfortunes, and many others, from the point of view of men and women who tried to heal the often ruinously injured. Continued

Photo: Dr. Jones and his female patients stand outside of his office, a wood frame building with tin roof, in the Black community of Dearfield, Colorado, in Weld County. The doctor wears a broad-brimmed hat, a vest, trousers, and a shirt. The group stands under the "Doctor W.A. Jones" sign. (Library of Congress)