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The First Doctors Of Michigan

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Not more than five acres of Michigan had been chopped and logged off bef ore a doctor arrived in the State, and they have continued to arrive ever since that hour. The first hundred or ao didn't doctor after the set rules of allopathy or hoineopathy. The grand object was to give a sick man his money's worth of medicine, and a little over. Drug stores were few and far between in those days, and every doctor carried his medicines ■with him. Indeed, this rule was practicPi. lip to fifteen or twenty years ago, when physicians all nt once got the notion that it was more convenient and stylish for the patient's f riendR to turn out at midnight and walk from one to five miles to get a prescription filled than it was for the doctor to sit by the bed and dea) out the drugs. The iirst doctors were very energetie and ambitious. If a man feil sick tliey called it fever'n agne and pushed powders, liquids and other things down his throat nntil a change occurred. If for the worae they gave the disease some other name and put on mustard piasters, gave the patiënt calomel, kpt his feat warm, and doctored him on that theory ■nntil he rallied or was still further reduced. If ho got well it was a big card for the doctor. If he died the doctors for sixteen miles around would swear that the person couldn't have been cured nohow. It can't be asoertained that more than one of those early practitioners ever gave up a patiënt in despair. That one was a resident of Wayne County, and was called to see a pioneer living seven or eight. miles from Detroit. The man had some sort of low fevov, and the physician attended him for a month without notiomg any iuiprovement. On the con. trary, the watient Beemed to be smkiug, and fnaring to lose practico if the man died on his hands the physician deeided to abandon the case. Calling his wife out doors he said: "I can't come any more ; I'm going to Cleveland to live." When she asked about her husband's prospects, he replied: "He is certain to die. I never sawsuch a case before. I commenced with 'A' in the alphabet of medicines and have run him down to 'and so forth,' and haven 't moved him a peg." The patiënt feil out of bed and broke his arm next day, and in three months was able to carry a bushei of wheat to Detroit on his shoulder. The doctors were just as polite and gentle in those pioneer days as they are now, and catching the spirit of the rapidly-growing country they feit that time was the great desiderátum. A doctor living in Maccomb County, when called upon to set a broken leg for a laboring man, examined the limb and said. "If I set this limb it will be five or six months before you can walk. If I saw it off and make you a wooden leg you'll be out splitting rails in less than three months. " The man declined the generous offer, and the doctor sighed drearily as he rolled down his shirt sleeves. Those doctors, too, had warm and sympathetic hearts. One of them killed a man in Washtenow. County by giving him poison in place of calomel. Upon discovering his mistake he rode out to see the widow, and after a few preliminary remarks said: "í'm very sorry, Mrs. Cotter, but it can't be helped nöw ; John wae a pretty good man, but there's others just as good. I'm willing to do the fair thing by you, being as it was my mistake. A brother of mine is coming from York State next week, and he shall marry you inside of three months 1" And he did. And it was just as hard for doctors to collect their bilis then as it is now. A Detroiter who had doctored in one ly for tbree or four years without getting aiiy pay, started out one morning with the vowed intention of oollecting somethin' or raising a tornado. He returned after four or five hours, covered with mud, bat oaved in and blood on bia coat colla?. "Getanymoney of Jones?" asked a friend. "No, but I squared up with him and left him a recoipt in f uil," replied the doctor. DointinK to his left ear.


Old News
Michigan Argus