In this informed and entertaining essay, John H. Ellis describes the efforts of physicians and laymen to keep illness at bay during Kentucky's first 200 years. Medicine in Kentucky is part of the Kentucky Bicentennial Bookshelf, "a celebration of two centuries of the history and culture of The Commonwealth."
John H. Ellis outlines the practice and development of medicine in Kentucky from the state of medical practices during the colonial era and the paucity of trained practitioners, to the frontier doctors of the early days of Westward expansion, to the founding of the first medical school chartered in the West, Transylvania University.
Ellis also details some of the commonly encountered diseases, the various types of practitioners (allopaths, herb doctors, Thomsonians, and homeopaths), and the various, generally short-lived publications and medical societies of nineteenth century Kentucky. He highlights two native Kentuckians, Joseph Nathaniel McCormack, principal architect of the current structure of the AMA, and Abraham Flexner, whose "Medical Education in the United States and Canada" is one of the great landmarks in the field, whether one feels that he laid the foundation for modern scientific medical education or merely set in concrete nineteenth century scientism as the basis for medical education.
Although dealing principally with Kentucky medicine, it reflects also on the happenings in medicine across the country.