They Call Her Sybil: The Case of Shirley Ardell Mason

It was a case that entranced the entire nation and, arguably, the world during the 1960s and 1970s. Dr. Cornelia B. Wilbur, a medical doctor, and psychiatrist, previously on staff at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, presented the case of Sybil Isabel Dorsett to the nation. The case of young Sybil resulted in a…

Epidemics and How History Can Potentially Save Lives

Epidemics in Kentucky Cholera Yellow Fever “Spanish” Influenza Tuberculosis Smallpox and Pest Houses Kentucky, and the world at large, is no stranger to epidemics. Whether it is cholera, yellow fever, tuberculosis, or influenza, Kentucky has seen nearly everything. Perhaps the most well-known, or infamous, epidemic in Kentucky was “Spanish” influenza in 1918. At the early…

Resurrectionists in Kentucky & the New Albany Affair

“The anatomy of the human body must be studied, and with or in spite of legal enactments, it will be, for it is the true cornerstone of medical study. Without it the healing art would cease to be healing, the processes of disease would be unknown, the means of cure, a sealed book.” -Dr. David…

The 1833 Cholera Epidemic at Lexington, Kentucky

What is Cholera? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the toxigenic bacterium Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1 or O139. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe. Approximately one in 10 (10%) infected persons…

The 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic at Hickman, Kentucky

The Progression of Yellow Fever Observations sur la fièvre jaune, faites à Cadix, en 1819 / par MM. Pariset et Mazet.Images from Wellcome Collection. CC BY. Development of yellow fever. What is Yellow Fever? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus that is spread through…

Kentucky’s African American Men and Women of Medicine

February is National African American History Month, which honors the sedulous contributions of African Americans across the nation and serves as a reminder of their struggles in seeking equality and freedom. We celebrate the hardworking men and women who fought tirelessly to help others in need in Kentucky. These are just a few of the…

The 1918 “Spanish” Influenza Pandemic

Quick Facts About Kentucky and the Spanish Influenza Pandemic Approximately 13,000-14,000 Kentuckians were casualties of the first and second waves of the pandemic. October 1-3, 1918: ambulances at General Hospital (Louisville) were working 24 hours a day picking up sick and febrile patients with fevers exceeding 103 degrees Fahrenheit. October 4, 1918: the isolation ward…

Medical Supplies in Early 20th-Century Hospitals

Hospitals are an incredibly important part of every community in the United States. From acute-care hospitals to psychiatric and long-term care facilities, these institutions provide a life-saving service. In order for these places to save lives, they have to be well supplied. From bandages to highly complex machines, these items have proven to be the…

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

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….