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"M" is for Medicine

South Carolina from A to Z logo

  "M" is for Medicine. In 1734, William Bull, II, became the first native-born American to obtain a European medical degree—at the University in Leyden. The early 19th century gave rise to systematic attempts to improve medicine in South Carolina. In 1817, the legislature created examining boards for physicians, midwives, and apothecaries. Roper Hospital, the first community hospital of any size, opened in 1856. The closing decades of the 20th century bore witness to improvement in the state in health-care delivery systems, hospital-based medicine, public health, and perceived physician shortage. In 1970 there were only 77 physicians per 100,000 residents. Thirty years later the state’s two medical school graduated over 200 new physicians per year and there were 221 physicians per 100,000 Carolinians. In 2000-2001 Dr. Randolph D. Smoak, Jr. of Orangeburg, served as president of the American Medical Association.

 

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.