Dr. Betterman and the story of how modern medicine came to a small town

“All doctors have to put on a bold front. […] I am not ashamed to confess that I do not know it all. Probably never will. I do try to use the best things and methods that rational science has to officer. All medicine has much yet to learn.” So writes Dr. Amos Betterman in […]

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Youngstown and World War I medicine

During World War I, the United States aided the Allies’ fight by setting up Base Hospitals in Europe. Base Hospital 31 was organized in Youngstown, OH in the beginning of 1917. The $50,000 needed to supply the hospital was funded by donations from the citizens and staffed by 300 volunteers from the local medical community […]

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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Recently, I did some light research on operating table design. I was looking for changes in design and materials so that I could help a researcher date their newly-acquired artifact. What I found was that after about 1920, operating tables didn’t change much. They all looked about the same and had similar features. The biggest […]

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Baby Shoes!

Last week, I had a call from a woman who wanted to donate something to the museum. She explained the item to me over the phone, and since we didn’t have anything like it in the collection, we made an appointment for her to bring them in. This is what she brought: She told me […]

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Medicinal alcohol and prohibition

The Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which banned the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors,” took effect on January 16, 1920. It became known as the National Prohibition or Volstead Act. This new law required physicians to obtain a special permit from the prohibition commissioner in order to write prescriptions for liquor. The patient […]

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19th century amputation and surgical kits

The artifact collection at the Rose Melnick Medical Museum includes one amputation set and one surgical kit, both from the 19th century. Both kits contain tools for general surgical procedures of the time including tourniquets, knives and scalpels, capital saws, tenacula, and artery forceps. Both kits also include trephining tools for cutting the skull. Although […]

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