Dr. Stanley G. Bandeen and the Bush-Bandeen Sanatorium

Image from the Louisville Journal, 21 July 1933

Interior of the Bush-Bandeen Sanatorium, from the University of Louisville Photographic Archives

Dr. Evelyn Bush, from the Louisville Journal

In the late 1920s, Louisville osteopathic physician Dr. Evelyn Bush realized her dream of opening a sanatorium at 1435 South Fourth Street. The very spacious house would allow patients to stay and convalesce while they were being treated. Soon after, Dr. Bush extended an invitation to a fellow Louisville osteopathic physician, Dr. Stanley G. Bandeen. Dr. Bandeen, a transplant from Michigan, had begun to establish a solid reputation for treating patients. Soon, the house on South Fourth Street would become the Bush-Bandeen Sanatorium. After its opening in 1927, the Bush-Bandeen Sanatorium began successfully treating patients and helping them heal. A number of older patients that were admitted to the sanatorium were suffering from many of the typical diseases of that time including various cancers and tuberculosis. Both of which had no cures and were subject to clinical experimentation in order to achieve a substantive treatment to alleviate the pain and suffering that people would go through. Tuberculosis, for example, was a particularly difficult and contagious pathology.

Dr. Stanley G. Bandeen, from the Louisville Journal

As Doctors Bush and Bandeen began seeing both cancer and tubercular patients, staff began noticing that patients were dying at a noticeable rate. However, as the new decade came upon them, the Bush-Bandeen Sanatorium would experience troubles. Dr. Bush and Dr. Bandeen would eventually be forced to part ways. By 1933, Dr. Stanley G. Bandeen filed a voluntary petition in the U.S. Federal District Court for bankruptcy. Dr. Bandeen listed the available assets of the Sanatorium at $16,970; however, their liabilities far exceeded their available funds at $25,592. On Tuesday, September 19, 1933, pursuant to an order of the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Bankruptcy Division, a public auction was held at 1435 South Fourth Street. The following property, to-wit, went up for public auction: all medical equipment in the sanatorium, office furniture, household furniture to include beds and dressers, rugs, and various tables among many other items. The stipulation was that all real estate and improvements must be sold at the time of the auction.

From The Courier-Journal

Dr. Bandeen did not give up the practice of osteopathic medicine, however. He continued his practice after the bankruptcy of the Sanatorium. Dr. Bandeen began using a curative treatment that promised to cure cancer, tuberculosis, and endocrine disorders. That treatment was Glyoxylide. Developed by Dr. William F. Koch in the 1940s, Glyoxylide or ethylenedione was promised to be a cure-all drug. Dr. Koch claimed to have synthesized the compound. Up until that point, ethylenedione had been a hypothetical compound. The United States Food and Drug Administration had discredited Dr. Koch and labeled his Glyoxylide as little more than snake oil. Despite the attacks of Dr. Koch being a quack and being discredited by both the U.S. federal government and his scientific peers, Dr. Bandeen continued to use Glyoxylide. He would allegedly sell the drug as being an outright cure for cancer or tuberculosis. Soon, however, a number of his patients began complaining about Dr. Bandeen’s “special” treatment and his overall bedside manner.

In 1951, the Kentucky Board of Health revoked Dr. Bandeen’s osteopathic license charging grossly unprofessional or dishonest conduct of a character likely to deceive or defraud the public in the treatment of cancer and tuberculosis. The charges centered largely on Dr. Bandeen’s use of Glyoxylide in these patients. Dr. Bandeen immediately started the process of appealing this ruling going as far as saying that many M.D.’s prescribed Glyoxylide and that osteopaths take the same examinations as M.D.’s to practice medicine. Dr. Bandeen charged that the Kentucky Board of Health had no jurisdiction in the case to suspend his medical license and that there was no evidence to support the Board’s order and was thus void because of no findings of fact. He believed that he was denied a fair and impartial trial. The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that Dr. Bandeen could no longer practice osteopathy in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The house on South Fourth Street has conjured up a number of legends in Old Louisville. Chiefly because there have been cases of murder and violence in the house over the years. Some say that the house is cursed and anyone who lives there are doomed to the same fate as others. Though that might be up for debate in some crowds, it is undeniable that the house on South Fourth Street has a dark history. Ultimately, however, one could argue that Dr. Bandeen’s promises of a cure were equally as bad as a cancer or tuberculosis diagnosis. We may never truly know Dr. Bandeen’s intentions; did he truthfully think that Glyoxylide was a miracle cure or was he a monomaniac with a penchant for causing pain?

Contributed by Shawn Logan | contact@kyhi.org

⁘ Works Cited ⁘

  1. The Lexington Leader, 9 December 1949
  2. The Lexington Leader, 12 December 1952
  1. The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) 20 July 1933, p. 2.
  2. The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) 17 September 1933, p. 39
  3. The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) 6 October 1956, p. 9.
  4. The Louisville Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), 3 March 1927, p. 1.
  5. The Louisville Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), 21 July 1933, p. 1.
  6. [ULPA CS 105339], Caufield & Shook Collection, Photographic Archives, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.

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