Healers and Hellraisers: Denver Health’s First 150 Years

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Healers and Hellraisers: Denver Health’s First 150 Years
Series Title:
Healers and Hellraisers: Denver Health’s First 150 Years
Paton, Bruce
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
Publication Date:

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Auraria Library
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Healers and Hellraisers: Denver Healths First 150 Years | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 9:49:55 AM] Home Healers and Hellraisers: Denver Healths First 150 YearsHealers and Hellraisers: Denver Healths First 150 YearsSubmitted by nwharton on 7-16-2012 08:52 AMAuthor: Eileen Welsome Publishing: Denver, CO: Denver Health Foundation, 2011. Reviewer: Bruce Paton Denver Health, known to many generations as Denver General or DG, has had a long history, sometimes distinguished, sometimes abysmal, often controversial, and, currently, superlative. Eileen Welsome, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, has written a fascinating and illuminating history. While recalling the hospitals high points, she does not pull any punches in recounting the political infighting, territorial rivalries between hospitals, and the pushand-pull struggles between the hospitals administration and the city. The first public hospital, started in 1860 on Wazee and Sixteenth, had as one of its first patients Dr. Joseph Stone, badly wounded in a duel with Lucien Bliss, the acting governor of Jefferson Territory. The violent cause of the wound has reverberated down the years as a theme for the hospitals fame, for to this day Denver Health is renowned for the treatment of trauma. Dueling may have fallen out of fashion but gunshot wounds have not, and the best place in Denver to be treated for such a wound is Denver Health. Even to someone who believes that he knows a fair amount about the history of Denver and its medical care, Eileen Welsome has revealed a myriad of intriguing facts the story of the Steele Hospital for infectious diseases (and that Steele Street is named after its founder, Dr. Henry King Steele), the pesthouse for smallpox, the Poor Farm that housed the indigent (and, at the same time, provided the meat and vegetables for the hospital), and the ups and downs of the state of the hospital depending upon the mayor in office at the time. And, throughout the narrative runs a silver thread of compassion for the sick and injured. For most of its 150 years the hospital was intended to care only for the citizens of the city and county of Denver, but the press of patients at the door often made this impossible. In the early years of the twentieth century, patients with tuberculosis flooded into Denver and Colorado, enticed by bright sun and fresh air. While many of them contracted the disease in the city, most acquired the infection elsewhere and came here as an oasis of last resort only to find a city that had no jobs, was openly hostile and unwelcoming, and an environment that, by itself, could not cure them. In the early days the universal ignorance of bacteriology allowed the spread of typhoid, typhus, diphtheria, and other plagues including the Spanish flu, even though many doctors realized that close living quarters, filth, and poor sanitation contributed to their spread. From the earliest days to the present time the hospital has been served by distinguished and dedicated men and women: Dr. Frederick Bancroft, Louise Croft Boyd, Dr. Lewis Lemen, Dr. Herbert McLaughlin, Dr. EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanCasimiro Barela, state senator for over 37 years, fought to ensure Colorados first constitution was published in English, Spanish and German.


Healers and Hellraisers: Denver Healths First 150 Years | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 9:49:55 AM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us Justina Warren Ford, Dr. Florence Sabin, Dr. Sam Johnson, Dr. David Cowen, Dr. Ben Eiseman, Dr. Eugene Moore, and Dr. Patty Gabowto name but a few. Healers and Hellraisers is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of Denver. It is well written with entrancing facts on every page. The design of the book by Scott Johnsonfrom the end-cover reproductions of patient registers from 1888 to the wealth of well-printed old photosenhances the text and turns the book into a slow, contemplative page-turner. The Denver Health Foundation, which commissioned the writing of the book, has been well served. This is an entertaining, factually stimulating, and meticulously researched account of the development of one of the nations premier hospitals. It is easy to read, easy on the eye, and infinitely more pleasing to browse than a high-tech e-book. Reviewer Info: Bruce Paton, M.D. is an emeritus professor of surgery of the University of Colorado who worked at the old Denver General Hospital during his training. He is the author of several books including Sixty Years on a Cutting Edge: A History of the Department of Surgery of the University of Colorado and Lewis and Clark: Doctors in the Wilderness. Although he was born in India and educated in Scotland, he has lived in Denver for more than fifty years and has a keen interest in the history of Denver and Colorado.