A brand new e book from a Vestavia Hills writer pays tribute to pioneering figures in drugs, together with the late Dr. Charles “Scotty” McCallum Jr., town’s former mayor.
When McCallum retired from his put up as president of UAB, Yetta Samford, who was chairman of the board of the College of Alabama System, famous that he had “made a everlasting impression on the lifetime of this college and this state … He has been an integral a part of the workforce that guided UAB from infancy to its present standing as one of many nation’s up-and-coming universities.”
McCallum’s story is considered one of many within the new e book, “From Metal Mills to Stethoscopes: A Historical past of the Birmingham Medical Career,” by native creator Lynn Edge. The e book highlights the contributions of docs, nurses and the establishments which have turned the metro Birmingham space right into a medical heart acknowledged the world over.
Launched in January by Legacy Publishing, the e book recounts substantial junctures within the metro space’s medical historical past, all the best way from Davy Crockett’s cease in Jones Valley, feverish with malaria, to UAB’s improvement of remdesivir, a drug used to deal with the coronavirus.
Together with different collaborating writers, Edge, a long-time Birmingham journalist and creator, shines a lightweight on dozens of tales about medical pioneers within the space, some well-known, however others vital however extra obscure.
“One of many ones I really like from Birmingham is Dr. Annie Mae Robinson, one of many metropolis’s early feminine docs and an outspoken suffragist,” Edge stated. “She wasn’t about to let males have rights that girls didn’t, and she or he was one of many early physicians who informed us that smoking wasn’t good for us — males or ladies!”
In a question-answer session with Vestavia Voice, she talks a bit about what she discovered.
Q: What led you to write down a e book about Birmingham’s medical historical past?
A: Legacy Publishing approached me concerning the e book, and it gave the impression of one thing I wish to tackle.
Q: How did you collect your info? How lengthy did it take you to drag all of it collectively?
A: I learn heaps and much and many books concerning the historical past of Jefferson County, for starters. I wished to write down the e book from a perspective of what was taking place within the county and the way that affected what was occurring in drugs. The Jefferson County Medical Society had saved excellent information of what occurred of their conferences. That was a beautiful useful resource.
After all, I interviewed docs right here on the town. Naturally, they’d a wealth of data about how drugs grew to become such an necessary “business” in Alabama. I additionally learn many, many, many newspaper articles from archives everywhere in the state (and a few out of the state as nicely). I labored on the e book for greater than a yr.
Q: You coated a protracted interval of historical past. Why was it necessary to go to date again and finish at this second in historical past?
A: To inform the story of how the county grew to become one of many world’s main medical sources, you need to discuss when it wasn’t — when metal mills had been what fueled the economic system of the county. And to speak about that, you need to focus on what made the county “metal wealthy.” The pure sources which are proper underneath our ft (actually) began the entire thing. With the metal business got here medical wants and with medical wants got here the expansion of the medical business right here.
Ending the e book was such a fluid factor. Once I began writing, “pandemic” was not more than a phrase. By the point I completed, we had been in the midst of one. Due to the pervasive medical presence right here, Birmingham naturally grew to become part of the analysis attempting to stop the unfold of COVID-19 and save lives. The story of the medical career in Jefferson County is endless. There are new discoveries on daily basis. I lastly simply needed to say, “Okay. The e book ends right here. The rest should be coated in a sequel.”
Q: Did you face any specific challenges in getting it executed?
A: One of many greatest, in fact, was simply the abundance of knowledge accessible. I discovered myself beginning out to write down about one topic after which having to analysis a lot of different topics as a result of they had been so intently associated to my unique “objective.” It was lots like beginning down a highway from Level A to Level B and discovering that there have been tiny trails branching off from my principal highway, and all of them needed to be explored.
For instance, I used to be writing one story about an early feminine physician — Dr. Laura Burton — in Birmingham, which you’d suppose can be a reasonably simple story, aside from the truth that her ex-husband, additionally a Birmingham physician, murdered her. Then you definately’ve acquired to discover why this occurred and what occurred to the feminine physician who shared a apply with Dr. Burton.
Once I was writing about Lou Wooster, I began out exploring how the native madam grew to become a hero in the course of the cholera epidemic in Birmingham and ended up looking for out if there was any reality to the rumor that she had an affair with John Wilkes Sales space.
Q: I perceive you additionally acquired to write down about at the least considered one of your relations. Inform us about that.
A: Frank Dulaney R.N. (The headline author [page 83 in the book] made him a physician. Sorry about that.) I heard tales about him after I was rising up. His mom and my great-grandmother had been sisters.
Frank set out on a path when he was younger, and he didn’t change his objectives. He all the time wished to be a nurse and he grew to become the primary male to graduate from an accredited nursing college in Alabama. He grew to become Babe Ruth’s private nurse towards the top of the Babe’s life. His portrait hung within the corridor at Carraway Hospital. When a member of the family needed to be at Carraway, that particular person normally took the time to cease by the portrait and pay respects to Lavaughn, because the household known as him. One in all our household’s claims to fame!
Q: What was probably the most profound factor you took away from engaged on this e book?
A: Maybe that life is just not so simple as one would think about. A lot is intertwined. If all the principle “substances” for making metal weren’t proper right here within the county, there wouldn’t have been metal mills and there most likely wouldn’t have been the expansion of the medical career right here.
The opposite factor, I assume, is “the extra issues change, the extra they keep the identical.” Birmingham had a yellow fever outbreak early in its historical past. There was the cholera epidemic within the 1800s. Individuals didn’t know the right way to take care of these occasions. Generally they had been informed to not fear, the issue would simply go away. There have been some fairly offbeat options about what to do about these illnesses (“abstain from Ardent Spirits”). Sound acquainted?
The identical themes you discover in Chapters 1 and a couple of, you discover within the epilogue. Our problem is to study from every considered one of these occasions and develop from the data we achieve.
Q: How does this e book join with the others you’ve written?
A: Humorous. It doesn’t actually. A number of of my different books are journey guides and I’ve written a biography of Elvis Presley. I similar to digging into issues and studying as I write.
Q: What’s subsequent for you?
A: I’m engaged on a biography of Dr. Carl Marbury, a previous president of Alabama A&M. Collectively, Dr. Marbury and I are engaged on a e book concerning the “mulatto story.” I’ve nearly completed a novella I’m writing (It began out being somewhat story a few woman who wished to be a spy since she was a toddler and eventually acquired to be one. It took a darkish flip and ended up being a cautionary story about being cautious what you want for.). And I’ve been approached about taking up another tasks for Legacy.
Signed copies of “From Metal Mills to Stethoscopes: A Historical past of the Birmingham Medical Career” are at the moment accessible on the Alabama Booksmith in Homewood.