Most towns did t have hospitals of their own before the mid-twentieth century, and Kentucky towns were exception. Kentucky's first real hospital opened in 1823, but it was in Louisville-too far away to serve many Kentucky communities, especially in cases of emergency. For this and other reasons, the lifespan of the average Kentuckian in the 1800s was only 40 years. Today it has grown to 75, and trained medical professionals are available to most communities throughout the state. Healing Kentucky tells how medical care changed in Kentucky over 200 years and became the much safer and better system we kw today. It also describes early healing practices and methods used to care for the sick in the days before safe hospitals, even on Civil War battlefields. From cholera epidemics to polio and plastic surgery, readers will learn much about the people who shaped medicine in Kentucky.
Nancy Disher Baird is a librarian and specialist in Kentucky history at the Kentucky Library (Special Collections) at Western Kentucky University.