Kentucky Medical Education in the 1870s and 1880s

Transylvania University – Medical Department Lexington, Kentucky Population of Lexington in the early 1880s: 16,656. The Medical Department of Transylvania University was established in 1817. Lectures were delivered until 1859, when the institution became extinct. From 1850-1850 lectures were delivered during the summer only, the winter sessions being intermittent to establish the Kentucky School of…

The Strange Case of Dr. Abner Baker, Jr.

It was a chilly morning on the 3rd of October. Dr. Abner Baker, Jr. rode through a crowd of people in a calm and stoic manner. As the wagon came to a stop, Dr. Baker stepped down and quietly made his way up the steps of the wooden gallows. At his perch upon the gallows,…

Louisville’s 1902 Morgue Scandal

In 1894 the Board of Public Safety and Kentucky legislature passed sweeping changes to Kentucky’s laws regarding the morgue in Louisville, Kentucky and unclaimed bodies. The former held that the morgue shall be in charge of the janitor at the University of Louisville and shall be open at all hours of the day and night…

Medicine Between 1851-1951

1851 marked a formative year for Kentucky medicine when the Kentucky Medical Association was established. Within this period, rapid changes and developments occurred which advanced the field of medicine to a level never seen, or thought of, before. Rudolf Virchow, a specialist in cellular biology, taught the world that the body was, “a cell-state in…

Kentucky’s Forgotten Private Institutions

This is a very brief visual look at some of Kentucky’s long-forgotten private hospitals, institutions, and sanitariums. Many of these institutions changed ownership and names and therefore some of these are the same buildings just with different names and owners. Note: we will keep this post updated as we continue to find new additions. (The…

The Hill-Burton Act and its Impact on Kentucky

In 1946, the United States Congress passed a new law that afforded hospitals and other healthcare facilities to apply for grants and funding to construct new facilities and/or modernize existing ones. The hospitals would, in return, provide service to the local citizens of which the facility served at little or no cost. Essentially, those who…

Home Care Following Leukotomy

We have a dedicated page to historical treatments for insanity including psychosurgery. Newspaper sources are copyrighted by their respective authors/owners. In 1949, Dr. António Caetano de Abreu Freire Egas Moniz was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with physiologist Walter Rudolf Hess, for the development of the prefrontal leukotomy. A polarizing…

State Hospital Rules and Regulations

This information pertains to regulations during the middle of the 20th century for state hospitals in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Regulations and laws were subject to change by acts of legislation. Please remember to keep this information in a historical perspective. Patient Care The director will authorize the admission of a legally committed patient so…