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Early Medical Facilities in Dublin

By Frank Chamberlain

Medical facilities have existed in Dublin since the founding of the community in the 1800s. The first caregiver in the settlement was Mrs. Sarah Jane Dobkins, wife of Alexander Dobkins, the man credited with founding Dublin. She treated the sick of the area and delivered most of the babies born in early-day Dublin. She was known to ride considerable distances to administer aid to the infirm and would not allow her patients to pay her with cash. Instead, she accepted gifts of eggs or produce.

Later, as the town had developed and was moved to its present location, a doctor named O’Bryan established a three-story infirmary that was equipped with modern medical facilities and featured a drug store on the ground floor. The rooms for the patients were found upstairs. One of the practices that Dr. O’Bryan initiated was isolating patients with communicable diseases. He essentially had these people quarantined in his “Pest House” that he built west of town. The sick patients tended to each other inside this sanitarium and subsisted on food that relatives dropped off at the gate. An ominous red flag was placed in the yard warning passersby to keep their distance. As might be imagined, the “Pest House” was known as one of the more dreaded spots in the community. The possibility of banishment to this house undoubtedly provided a means for area mothers to coerce youngsters to eat their vegetables, take baths, or engage in other healthy endeavors traditionally disdained by children. This bastion of trepidation was kept in operation until 1907. Since these early days of the medical practice in Dublin, numerous physicians have worked in town. An incorporated hospital was established in 1947, which remained in operation until 1990. Today, there is no hospital in Dublin, but several doctors have continued to practice in the town.

“Dublin Hospital’s History Revealed”, The Dublin Progress, April 11, 1972.

“Harris Methodist-Dublin closed April 1”, The Dublin Progress, April 5, 1990.