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Updated: Mar 20

Dr. Taylor Prewitt’s book, Before it Got Complicated, tells the story of the development of medicine in and around Fort Smith, Arkansas from 1817, to when the first hospital was established, until 1975 when President Gerald Ford came to Fort Smith to dedicate St. Edwards Mercy Medical Center.


Prewitt tells of the first doctor, Dr. Thomas Russell who came there from 1818 to 1819 when he died of “nervous fever.” Malaria and yellow fever kept the hospital busy. It had no modern medicine as we have today.


It also tells of the first female doctor, Minnie Sanders, who practiced from 1892 to 1895 when she married.


This book is well written. Prewitt draws your interest from page to page showing what developed next. It’s a book that will be appealing to anyone from the Ft. Smith area and beyond.



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