Modern medicine and surgical procedures have certainly progressed over the years, and one need only visit our second floor Medical Room exhibit to appreciate this.
Dr. Leonidas Kirby, for example, who came to Harrison in 1871, developed his own method of inoculating patients for Smallpox. A showcase exhibit jar of Smallpox scabs on blocks of wood illustrates his unique approach.
Kirby would place a scab on a little block of wood, then he would scratch a patient's arm with a needle and use direct germ from the scab to inoculate the patient. This method was applied in a time before a serum was discovered.
Dr. L. Kirby also brought a skeleton home to Harrison with him in 1875 when he returned from college in St. Louis. The skeleton is also on display.
The Medical Room exhibit also includes a Saw Bones Kit, used for removing arms and legs during the Civil War. According to Harrison's Dr. Henry Kirby, more Civil War soldiers died from amputations due to blood poisoning than from actually being shot. This was long before the discovery of antibiotics, which were not implemented until WWII.
A Sterilizing Display shows the evolution of instrument sterilization over the years - from lye soap, to steam sterilizers and pressure cooker-types.
In the days when doctors still made house calls by horse and buggy, it was not uncommon for the doctors to place coals of fire in a little drawer of a foot-warmer that was then placed on the floor of the buggy. After all, who would want a doctor to ever get "cold feet"?!