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.

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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.