Friday, May 15, 2009

Recognition Luncheon

Our annual recognition luncheon for volunteers was held at Lon's, the Hermosa Inn's world renown restaurant. A historic recap of the Hermosa Inn can be found on page 94 of Tastes & Treasures. Members and guests were served Roasted Chicken and Strawberry Salad with Prickly Pear Vinaigrette, (a Lon's recipe featured on page 96 of Tastes & Treasures,) and a chocolate mouse dessert.

Dr. Robert Kravetz was our featured speaker. The author of two books, the retired physician spoke about medical practices in AZ in the 1850s when miners inhabited the state (along with Native American tribes.) Treatment mostly involved 2 methods: whiskey and herbal concoctions.

Dr. Kravetz also showed medical equipment and talked about the methods for care during the Civil War. When the war began, the North was not equipped to handle the medical needs generated by battle. Doctors were trained to treat illnesses, not wounds. They learned on the job and from it the medical triage system was developed. The South fared better with their physicians, but because of the blockade by the North, they were unable to get supplies.

There were no antibiodics, and sterlization was unknown. The lead balls shot in battles were 1/2 inch in diameter and the damage done to soldiers was a major factor in the high number of casualties. Dr. Kravetz also pointed out many soldiers came from rural communities and had never been exposed to childhood illnesses. 100,000 died from measles, for example, and infectious diseases rivaled the number of casualties that died from battle related wounds.

An interesting tidbit: silk was used to stitch wounds. Because the South was blocked by the North from receiving supplies, Confederate doctors resorted to horse hair. Horse hair is very stiff and the hair was boiled to soften it. Boiling sterilized the hair and a soldier's recovery would likely have been more successful than a wounded Union soldier's.

I hope Dr. Kravitz returns to speak at a future meeting. He touched on health history post Civil War, but he's also an authority on Native American care, health seekers to Arizona and quack medicine.

Awards Chair Kay Holcombe announced that between the League and the Museum, 7,036 hours had been logged by volunteers. Kay recognized individuals who had reached certain levels of hours. Our
out-going president Jeannine Moyle then thanked the 2008-2009 officers and executive board, and passed the gavel to our 2009-2010 president, Ruth Ann Hogan.

A big thanks to Dee Steen and Mary Parker for organizing the event.