Monday, March 7, 2011

Nichols General Hospital Louisville Kentucky

I know I said we were finishing Norm's story on Saturday but there are so many other interesting aspects.  When researching his rehabilitation hospitals, I wondered why he was sent to Louisville.  Again, the internet is an wonderful thing.  Nichols specialized in Nerve Repair.  It is amazes me that, in the days before easy communication and the volume of wounded men, that individual soldiers got the appropriate care at the right facility.

This is from a web site on Kentucky women and the Civil Rights Movement as part of an oral history project:

 Constance Cline Phillips of North Carolina dropped out of college and signed up for the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in February 1945.  After attending six weeks of basic training at Fort Des Moines in Iowa, she spent  four months in X-ray technician school at Camp Atterbury in Indiana.  Then, she was stationed at Nichols General Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky from August 1945 to March 1946 when it was closed.

In her interview, Phillips talked about the Nichols General Hospital in Louisville where her work as an X-ray technician was part of medical experimentations using wounded veterans.  She remembered Nichols General as a “nerve center” where soldiers whose injuries made them into paraplegics.  Many of them, she said, had extremity nerve injuries – some had been wounded quite a long time before – and the surgeons were experimenting with ways to rejoin the nerves.
X-Ray staff at Nichols General Hospital, 1945, UNC-G Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project
X-Ray staff at Nichols General Hospital, 1945, Louisville KY
“…they used tantalum wire, is something I remember X-raying to see how close something was getting to something to rejoining.  But I think that was where some of the first paraplegics were kept alive. I don’t believe they understood the technology to be able to do that. So that was very interesting. And of course, most of our patients were male. Very few females. Which, of course, at twenty I thought was cool.

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