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History

Pre-1799, Colonial period in America

Revolutionary War Era Medicine in America

  • From the Colonial period in America, most physicians were trained by the apprenticeship method, serving for a given period of time , customarily five to seven years, and often living with the physician’s family.
  • The MD degree was so unusual that of the 3,500 practicing physicians in the colonies during the period of the Revolutionary War, less than 300 had received a medical degree.
  • Of the 300 physicians with degrees, most had earned those degrees in Europe, because the Philadelphia Medical College (later University of Pennsylvania) and King’s College (later Columbia University) were the only medical schools available to Americans in their homeland.

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 38

1799

  • Over 218 years ago, anyone who wished to practice medicine did so.
  • There was no need for a degree or certificate.
  • Among the medical practitioners in Lexington during the 1790s qualified physicians with the desire to show to the public those traits and credentials that differentiated the regular physician (allopaths) from medical pretenders (irregulars).
  • The regulars physicians’ need for respect and recognition led to the founding of a medical society with membership limited to those deemed qualified.
  • Membership then was essentially a statement of the applicant’s educational credentials.
  • Education, not nobility nor place, set the society members apart from pretenders.

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 10

1799 – Lexington Medical Society Founded

  • The founding of the Lexington Medical Society in 1799 preceded the establishment of the Medical Department of Transylvania University, also in 1799.
  • The two institutions grew side by side for almost thirty-five years.
  • There were 10-12 physicians in Lexington in 1799.
  • The 1799 Lexington Medical Society constitution and bylaws are lost
.
  • The founder of the Lexington Medical society, Dr. Samuel Brown (brother of John Brown, Kentucky’s first United States Senator), was the first professor of medicine appointed by Transylvania University.
  • Dr. Brown helped establish the first national medical society in American, Kappa Lambda of Hippocrates, which later influenced the structure of the American Medical Association

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 11

(1769-1830)
 – Dr. Samuel Brown Founder, Lexington Medical Society

  • Studied under the private tutelage of Dr. Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the most renowned American Physician of the time.He studied, along with Ephraim McDowell, at the University of Edinburgh Medical School in 1793.
  • Received his medical degree at University of Aberdeen.
  • Dr. Brown was the first professor of medicine west of the Alleghenies at Transylvania College.

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 30

(1783-1820) – Lexington’s Golden Age

  • The pioneers and their children turned Lexington into the Athens of the West. Manufacturing, commerce, art, law, and politics flourished.
  • During the golden age, Lexington laid at the major overland routes of the trans- Appalachian frontier.
  • With the introduction of the steamboat in 1812, Lexington entered a long and humiliating decline that eventually culminated in the loss of its medical supremacy to the river cities of Cincinnati, Louisville, and St. Louis.
  • Cincinnati and Louisville, both of which were mere villages when Lexington became a budding city, rapidly surpassed Lexington in population.

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 23

1821 – Oldest Preserved Lexington Medical Society Bylaws and Constitution

  • “There is a number of individuals, connected with the School of Medicine in Transylvania University, who are desirous of being incorporated as a society…for the purpose of cultivating to more advantage the science of medicine, and of awakening in these western states, a more lively zeal for greater attainment and improvements in that important branch of knowledge…”

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 37

1822

  • Henry Miller was elected President of the Lexington Medical Society.
  • He later was elected as the thirteenth president of the American Medical Association.

1824 – Dr. Daniel Drake, President of the Lexington Medical Society

Dr. Daniel Drake, the foremost American medical educator of the nineteenth century.

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 16

1834-1835: Lexington Medical Society closed

A state of dormancy prevailed in Lexington throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century and well into the mid-twentieth century.

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 23

Evidence shows that when LMS closed it was split into two separate societies; The College of Physicians and Surgeons for doctors & the Transylvania Medical Society for students.

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 54

1862 – Colonel Ethelbert Dudley, M.D.

  • Chose to serve in the Union Army as a field officer rather than a physician.
  • Commanded the 21st Infantry from Lexington.
  • Graduate of Harvard University and Transylvania Medical School
.
    Died in 1862 of typhoid.

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 229

1869

After the Civil War, the Lexington and Fayette County Medical Society was organized

1907

Josephine D. Hunt, MD, the first women to become a member of the Fayette County Medical Society

She attended Sayre College, graduated from Transylvania University, and received her medical education at Johns Hopkins Medical School

She was elected Vice President of the medical society in 1911.

She retired in 1954.

1929

Statue of Dr. Ephraim McDowell, father of Abdominal Surgery, unveiled in Statuary Hall, U.S. Capitol

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 47

1941-1945

World War II

Fayette County physicians in World War II

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 311

1948

Fayette County Medical Society Auxiliary was established on July 13

Mrs. Halbert Leet was named the first President

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 307

1960 – Matthew Cotton Darnell, M.D. (1913-1992) was elected President of the Fayette County Medical Society

He volunteered for active naval service in 1944

Served as medical officer of the destroyer U.S.S. Laffey

He saw action at the D-Day Normandy invasion, The Philippine and Iwo Jima invasions and the battle near Okinawa.

He was wounded during a Kamikaze attack at Okinawa on April 15, 1945

Earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 310-312

1960

Lexington became home to a new medical school, the University of Kentucky College of Medicine

1963

Dr. Bush Hunter (1894-1983) was the first African American physician to become a member of the Fayette County Medical Society.

He received his M.D. from Howard University and began practicing in Lexington in 1926. He continued to practice for an additional 50 years.

He was named the outstanding general practitioner of the year, 1970, by the Kentucky State Medical Association

Mayo, W. Porter, Medicine in the Athens of the West, Princeton, McClanahan Publishing House, 1999, Print, page 249

2013-14

Lexington Medical Society member Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D., elected as the President of the American Medical Association

2015-16

Lexington Medical Society member Steven J. Stack, M.D., elected as the President of the American Medical Association.