Railroads, Physicians and Hospitals

With the advent of railroads, people and goods could be transported  rapidly, comfortably and at a lower cost.  The building of railroads did not come without worker safety issues –and solutions. Building railroads is dangerous; injuries to railroad workers  both those constructing the railroad tracks and those operating the trains – were common.  

Railway surgeons, nearly forgotten today, once formed the nucleus of a vast and innovative health care network.  As the railroads headed west, the railroads contracted with locl hospitals and local doctors to care for their injured workers .  The further west the railroads went, there were no hospitals so the railroads contracted with local physicians. The railroads had to build hospitals - often they contracted with Catholic nursing sisters who were also moving west to provide nurses  to staff the ir hospitals- these became known as Railroad Hospitals. Some of these Railroad Hospitals continue as part of Catholic Hospital systems today.


Included in the Railroad,, Physicians and Hospitals article is the story of one hospital - St. Joseph' Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.  -I have fond memories of St. Jo's as I worked there as a Clinical Specialisr  (Pulmonary) in the late 1970's.