On June 20, 1947, a Carroll County newspaper, the Democratic Advocate, ran a news brief on three Carroll County physicians who were being honored for more than 50 years of service to the community.
Try to imagine what it was like to have begun serving our community in the 1890s and to still be serving 50 years later. Think of the changes you would have seen brought about by automobiles, radio and television. Think of the life-changing events — traveling to Baltimore before Route 140 was built, Prohibition, WWI, WWII and the Great Depression.
The article reported, “Three physicians were honored for having given 50 years of service to citizens of Carroll County at the monthly luncheon meeting Tuesday of the Carroll County Medical Society at the Charles Carroll Hotel in Westminster.
“The vice president, Dr. Reuben Hoffman, superintendent of the Henryton Sanatorium, presided at the meeting. Dr. Lewis K. Woodward was in charge of arrangements. There were about 40 present. Recognition was accorded the three physicians, who had given fifty years or more to their profession and gold medals were presented to them in behalf of the association by Dr. Woodward. Dr. J.J. Stewart has served 62 years, Dr. Joseph E. Bush, 51 years; and Dr. Charles R. Foutz, 50 years. Doctors Stewart and Foutz are from Westminster, and Dr. Bush is a resident of Hampstead.”
On a side note, the ballroom/community room at the Charles Carroll Hotel at 117 E. Main St. was for many years the focal point of Carroll County.
The services these physicians provided predated Carroll County General Hospital, which was dedicated on Aug. 27, 1961.
Physicians in Carroll County before 1961 were paramedics, emergency room, and hospital all rolled into one. Often their offices were in their homes. They made frequent house calls, delivered babies at your house and performed routine and emergency surgery in their home offices.
Newspapers in the 1800s are replete with stories of death and injury as a result of horse and wagon accidents. In most all of the stories, there is an account of a physician rushing to the scene or the victims being rushed to a local physician’s home.
Indeed, the idea for a local hospital in Carroll County was not even discussed until after the First World War. At that time, the idea never got off the ground. It was not until the 1950s, according to a file in my family’s papers, that the idea of raising money to build Carroll County General Hospital became a reality.
As far as emergency medical care, it was not until 1926, that the City of Westminster hired four paid drivers on a 24-hour basis. An ambulance service was not started in Carroll County until 1928, when “the Rotary Club of Westminster prevailed on the city government to buy the volunteers an ambulance.”
Carroll County Daily Headlines
One of the most celebrated medical families in Carroll County is the Woodward family. The family represents at least four generations of physicians.
One member of the third generation of this preeminent medical family, Dr. Theodore Englar Woodward, was the son of Lewis K. Woodward Sr., and the grandson of Lewis Woodward. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for his work with infectious diseases, most notably typhus. He was given the Typhus Commission Medal for “exceptionally meritorious service,” on Feb. 4, 1945, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He investigated Agent Orange in the Parrot’s Beak area of Cambodia amid heavy combat in 1971.
He was a 1930 graduate of Westminster High School. He passed away on July 11, 2005. Portions of this story were researched and published by me on July 27, 2005. According to a lengthy tribute written by my colleague, Jacques Kelly, for The Baltimore Sun on July 12, 2005, Woodward “was chairman of the UM medical school’s Department of Medicine from 1954 to 1981, and earlier had conducted influential studies related to cholera, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, malaria and tuberculosis.”
My father-in-law, David S. Babylon Jr., a member of the Westminster Common Council for 25 years, conducted an extensive interview with Woodward and reported that Woodward lived on Willis Street for a portion of his childhood. The Woodward, Cover, Babylon, and Shriver families were family friends. At one time years ago, the Woodward and Babylon families lived in buildings where the Westminster Administrative Offices are now located. According to Babylon, “The Woodward house had a doctor’s office on the first floor, on the right side in the back. … Waiting room was in the front. Home was on second and third floors…”
In the 1940s, Woodward is credited with developing the Occam’s razor “medical zebra aphorism.” In medicine, he said, “When you hear the sound of hoofbeats, don’t first look for a zebra,” meaning that when arriving at a diagnosis, the most obvious answer is often the correct one.
According to Kelly’s tribute, despite his distinguished resume, when asked by a reporter to pinpoint his foremost achievement Woodward said, “A parent. I think that’s the most important thing any of us can do. … I taught my kids how to ride a bike, swim, play baseball. I found time to do that.”
Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. His Time Flies column appears every Sunday. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.