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Local doctor recaps 150 years of area, U.S. medical history

THE DAILY LEADER / RACHEL EIDE / Speaking to the Lincoln County Historical and Genealogical Society last week, Dr. Joe Moak points out that even a smart phone with certain apps can be used by modern doctors in their medical practice.

THE DAILY LEADER / RACHEL EIDE / Speaking to the Lincoln County Historical and Genealogical Society last week, Dr. Joe Moak points out that even a smart phone with certain apps can be used by modern doctors in their medical practice.

Medicine in Brookhaven and throughout the nation has come a long way in the past 150 years.

Last Thursday night, Dr. Joe Moak, who has been practicing medicine in Brookhaven since 1982, presented a recap of that milestone-filled history for members of the Lincoln County Historical and Genealogical Society at the Jimmy Furlow Senior Citizens Center.

Using PowerPoint slides, Moak, a sixth generation Brookhaven native, compared key medical events locally with those in the nation during the past century and a half.

“The practice of medicine is relatively new as we know it,” he said, noting particular strides have been made since the early 1980s, which began a “renaissance in medicine” through the 1990s.

Among the key local medical events was the first hospital in Brookhaven, which was the Confederate Army hospital on the Whitworth College campus, now the home of the Mississippi School of the Arts. “Heaven knows how many injured people they took care of, how many were buried,” Moak said.

Another local milestone occurred in 1894, when a group of prominent women organized the King’s Daughters Circle, Moak said.

Then in 1914, the original King’s Daughters Hospital was established on Chickasaw Street, followed a number of years later by the construction of the next King’s Daughters Hospital building on North Jackson Street in 1922.

Nationally around those years, the Spanish Flu hit and the nation went through World War I from 1914 to 1917.

Insulin was discovered in 1922 and penicillin followed in 1929, Moak said.

In Brookhaven, the Highway 51 location of King’s Daughters Hospital, now King’s Daughters Medical Center, was established in 1964.

“I used to do my homework here after school at Mamie Martin,” Moak said as he displayed a slide of the North Jackson Street hospital, where his mother worked. Later, he was attending Lipsey Junior High School when the Highway 51 hospital location was under construction.

On the national side of events, the Salk polio vaccine was developed in 1955 and smallpox was eradicated in 1979. Around that time, Dr. Moak was in medical school at University Medical Center in 1975.

“When I was in medical school, oncology did not exist,” Moak said, detailing the major additions to the field of medicine in just the past 30-plus years. “Certainly, there’s been an explosion of growth” in medical knowledge, he said.

In addition to detailing medical events over the past 150 years, Moak also highlighted key members of the local and national medical community and mentioned some of their contributions to medicine over the years.

Following his talk, Moak opened the floor up for questions, and Historical Society members were able to add even more local medical history to the discussion based on their recollections and research.