Doctors

Doctors were on call all day, every day and had many duties. The doctor fixed broken limbs, diagnosed and treated many illnesses, delivered babies, and pulled teeth if there was no dentist in town. The doctor travelled to the patient’s home if the person was unable to come to town.

A doctor is helping a young mom with her new baby. The doctor is holding the baby's hand and talking with the mom about her concerns.

The doctor made some home visits, including to deliver babies.

When people did not have money to pay the doctor, they would give the doctor food or offer to do odd jobs in exchange for the doctor’s services.

A young woman dressed as a nurse is standing on the front steps of a wooden house.

This is a nursing student in 1933.

Diseases

The harsh and overcrowded conditions that the settlers lived in caused diseases to be spread easily through families and communities. The typhoid epidemic was a deadly disease that quickly spread across the Prairies. There was eventually a vaccine that was created in 1911 that was distributed for free across the Prairies.

A doctor's office and a pharmacy are on the bottom floor of a three story building. These buildngs are shown on the main street of a town. A woman and her kids and a group of three men are gathered around.

People would visit the doctor’s office and the pharmacy when they weren’t feeling well.

Tuberculosis was another disease that spread quickly, however, it was mainly found In First Nations and Métis communities because some European settlers had developed an Immunity.

A man is working at a pharmacy. He is standing behind a counter with stools at it, in a white lab coat. Behind the man are shelves with prescription bottles.

Medical supplies can be purchased from the town’s pharmacy.

The inside of a pharmacy is shown with shelves full of jugs and glass jars that have medicines in them.

Pharmacies have containers full of medicines, tonics, and ointments that are measured out on scales for people who are not feeling well.

The 1918 flu epidemic arrived in Canada with returning troops from the First World War and made its way into even the most remote communities. Some entire villages were wiped out by the disease. Labrador, Quebec, and First Nations reserves were hit particularly hard.

A doctor and a nurse are helping a patient who is laying in a hospital bed with a bandage on his head.

Harsh living conditions led to disease spreading through communities.

Some areas unsuccessfully tried to quarantine. All medical facilities and personnel were soon overtaxed, and volunteers organized groups that helped the community from hotels and schools. These volunteers helped out by delivering food to those sick or working, providing medical supplies, and providing nursing care.

A doctor in a hat is treating a sick-looking child in a hospital bed.

Doctors had to be prepared to treat many health conditions and diseases.

A large brick building has many windows, a front door and steps, and a sign that says 'Health Centre' on it.

Modern hospitals have had a lot of advancements in technology. This hospital was built in Theodore, SK in 1947 and at the time, was considered one of the finest small hospitals in Western Canada.

Accidents

If an accident happened at any time throughout the pioneer days it could be deadly due to the fact that the doctor would have to travel long distances to see the injured person. If there was no doctor available to attend the scene, it would be a long distance for the setters to go for help. Often, people could be working or traveling alone and if they were hurt it could be a long time before someone found them.

Train accidents could also happen and were also very dangerous. The train could derail and cause a fire on the train and endanger anything that was near the train.

A doctor has had to travel to help a patient outside. They are both sitting on logs, as the doctor uses supplies from his medical kit to help the patient by putting a bandage on his arm.

Doctors had to travel to help patients at car, train, or farm accidents.