"This is Your Life, Dr. Ron Paul!"Submitted by singing4liberty on Wed, 05/16/2012 - 10:19
Do you want to pay tribute to Dr. Paul and THANK him for all he has done and conintues to do? Let's take 3 minutes' time from speculating campaign strategy and do something for someone else. I can think of none so deserving as our guy. Let's do something for Dr. Paul. He deserves our thanks, not our complaining.
Just look at what a high school class did with mere pennies. Think what each of us could do with a measly 10 BUCKS and a vast, accessible social network to spread the word!!!
Please take a few moments to read this inspiring, quick read on an incredible doctor! Change the gender, a few dates and details, add the United States of America to the patient roster, highlight a home-run hitter, and this could be our Dr. Paul's story as well.
Inspiration starts . . . NOW!
"THIS IS YOUR LIFE, DR. KATE NEWCOMB!"
The pennies that built a desperately needed hospital in northern Wisconsin may not have come from heaven, but local residents insist an “angel” was responsible nonetheless. Because enough pennies from around the world flowed into tiny Woodruff, the hospital opened debt-free in 1954.
The success may be credited to a beloved physician named Kate Pelham Newcomb. Known as the “angel on snowshoes” and also as “Doctor Kate,” she frequently trekked through impassable roads to make emergency house calls. Dr. Newcomb covered 250 square miles around Boulder Junction.
Born in Kansas in 1886 and raised in upstate New York, Kate Pelham enjoyed a comfortable life as her father was president of the Gillette razor company. He initially refused to allow Kate to attend medical school, so she became a teacher instead. Her father later relented, and Kate graduated from medical school at age 31 and practiced for a short time before marrying Bill Newcomb.
Dr. Kate soon gave up her medical career to care for her ailing husband, moving to northern Wisconsin in 1926 because clean air became increasingly important to his health. Her hiatus from medicine didn’t last long; a local doctor demanded that she tackle an emergency situation he couldn’t attend to. It was the first visit of many Dr. Newcomb would make in northern Wisconsin over the next three decades.
“her office was just a block from school and many of the kids in school were known as ‘Doctor Kate babies’ because she delivered probably 4,000 babies in the area in her lifetime,” says Marsha Doud, a former patient and a volunteer curator at the Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb Museum in Woodruff.
Since there was no hospital in the area, Dr. Newcomb made room for patients in two cabins on her property in Boulder Junction. “They stayed up there in those little cabins and she took care of them right there,” says Helen Schlect, another former patient and the museum’s treasurer (and Doud’s mother).
Even an all-expenses-paid trip to California one March wasn’t enough to lure Dr. Newcomb away from the people she served. “Kate felt flattered by the invitation, but she decided she could not spare the time from her busy schedule,” writes Adele Comandini, author of Doctor Kate: Angel on Snowshoes, a 1956 biography now being reprinted.
It turned out that the invitation to the “medical convention” was a ruse by producers of the hit television show “This is Your Life.” They needed to get her into the studio without her knowing she was the subject of the program.
Assistance from the Wisconsin Medical Society made it happen. Both Comandini’s book and the April 1954 Wisconsin Medical Journal state that a representative from the Society traveled from Madison to Woodruff to personally urge Dr. Newcomb to attend the “convention.” Dr. Newcomb was told that she was selected to represent Wisconsin in a ceremony honoring a famous doctor from London who perfected penicillin and made it available to the world. That was enough to convince Dr. Newcomb to hop on a train from Woodruff to Los Angeles.
While she was sitting in the studio on March 17, 1954, host Ralph Edwards approached her with a leather-bound book and asked her to read what was printed on it. Then he announced the show’s trademark words: “This is your life, Dr. Kate Newcomb!”
Completely flabbergasted, she still had no idea what was going on.
“You’ve been a minister to wounded hunters and trappers, treated injured lumberjacks and Indians, revived half-drowned vacationers, trudged miles on snowshoes through frozen woods to deliver babies by the light of a kerosene lantern . . .” Edwards continued.
During the program, the host also mentioned Newcomb’s dream of building a desperately needed hospital and the fact that a local high school class was in the process of collecting a million pennies to help defray the cost. Edwards asked viewers to send pennies to Dr. Kate Newcomb in Woodruff, Wisconsin.
“Pennies came here by the tons--$105,000 worth of pennies,” says Doud. A Hollywood screenwriter named Adele Comandini showed up, too. But after spending time with Dr. Newcomb, she decided to a write a book instead.
Lakeland Memorial Hospital opened in 1954, shortly after Dr. Newcomb returned from the incredible California trip that concluded with her first airplane ride. “She arrived in time to attend the formal opening of the hospital, but missed part of the ceremony because she was called away to Tomahawk to deliver a baby,” noted the Wisconsin Medical Journal.
Dr. Newcomb died two years later, but her name and folk hero status live on throughout northern Wisconsin as various health care facilities there still carry her name.
“Doctor Newcomb was Woodruff’s only claim to fame,” says Schlect.
by Steve Busalacchi
Wisconsin Academy Review, Spring 2005
Dr. Paul is so deserving of our grateful thanks. Tomorow, let's get our "pennies" to Paul!!
What do you all say?