This image, used as a basis for a large-scale panel in the York County Heritage Trust’s Murals of York series, shows Dr. George Holtzapple deploying oxygen to treat a Loganville pneumonia patient. This image appeared in York Hospital’s history ‘That Sovereign Knowledge.’ Tradition has it that this pioneering treatment took place in the house’s basement in this close-knit southern York County community. Background posts: Looking for a local history research project? and Of surgical saws, bloodletting and Brown’s in Loganville: ‘I didn’t know a peach tree from an apple tree, but we learned quickly.’
Lois Stoner, a nurse in York, e-mailed recently wondering why the Loganville house where Dr. George Holtzapple saved young pneumonia sufferer Frederick Gable’s life is not marked with a historical monument.
She raises a good point … .
In 1885, newly minted country Dr. Holtzapple administered oxygen to 16-year-old Gable, and the youth recovered, living to the ripe age of 91. Two York Hospital researchers concluded that Dr. Holtzapple, though not the first to use oxygen for pneumonia patients, was the first to publish a case report with a reasons’ physiological explanation of oxygen therapy.
They wrote in the Journal of Medical Biography in November 2005 that Holtzapple wanted to get out into medical literature the treatment so “average country practitioners” could use it.
Mayor Nelson R. Ahrens is aware of the house in Loganville where Holtzapple worked his magic. In fact, he owned it for several years after acquiring it in a public sale from Laura Messersmith.
It’s located near the old school that is beside the town’s Lutheran Church.
The tradition that goes with the house is that Holtzapple’s treatment occurred in the house’s kitchen/basement.
The mayor agrees with Lois Stoner that the house should be preserved.
“No doubt what should be done is that historical society should put a tag on it,” he said, “and it should never be torn down.”
The Mural of York featuring Dr. Holtzapple.
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