This Tuberculosis Thursday, we want to share about some interesting TB history from elsewhere in the country. About 40 years before Dr. Trudeau's development of the "fresh air cure" in Saranac Lake, Dr. John Croghan experimented with using caves to treat TB patients. Dr. Croghan purchased Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, hoping that the cool, still air in the caves would improve the health of patients. He brought 16 patients to the cave in the winter of 1842, to live in two stone cabins and eight wooden buildings.
Dr. Croghan's cave sanatorium was unsuccessful, as the damp, dark, unventilated conditions worsened the patients conditions, and five of the sixteen patients died. After just five months, Dr. Croghan returned to the surface with the remaining patients, and abandoned the treatment buildings.
This attempted treatment method is of course in stark contrast to the method developed in Saranac Lake, where patients would spend as much time as possible in the fresh air and sunlight. This postcard (c. 1912) was recently acquired by Historic Saranac Lake and shows tourists outside one of the remaining stone cabins in Mammoth Cave.
If you want to learn more about Dr. Croghan's sanatorium in Mammoth Cave, check out this fascinating article from Mammoth Cave National Park.
[Historic Saranac Lake Collection, TCR 666.]
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