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Mobile’s Medical Museum to honor local healthcare leaders

Lynn Oldshue

The City of Mobile was once home to the first board of health in Alabama. The Mobile Medical Museum focuses on the Port City’s history while looking to the future.

The Museum gives out the annual Mobile Community Health and Leadership Awards to recognize work in public health in Mobile. This year’s nominees range from a recreational therapist and pulmonary critical care physician to the leader of a non-profit that helps teenage parents. Another nominee is Dereck King, the school nurse at Murphy High School.

“One thing I have seen since I've been in nursing here, is that students who would normally be at home and not come to school or homeschool, are coming to school now,” said King.

“We're seeing more special procedures that are actually being done in school versus a student staying home. Students with chronic medical conditions are able to come to school now because they have nurses. And we are just thankful and blessed that we have a nurse in every school in the Mobile County Public School System. A lot of that came into place because of the pandemic. We were able to get more nurses in here."

Lynn Oldshue

King said she is excited and overjoyed to be recognized by the Mobile Medical Museum for her work caring for students. Some of the museum’s artifacts include an iron lung used during the polio epidemic and surgeon’s tools that amputated soldier’s limbs during the Civil War.

Museum Executive Director Daryn Glassbrook flips on the heart-lung machine that allowed surgeons to perform open heart surgeries that were once considered too risky.

“This is a heart-lung machine that was used on the first open heart surgeries in mobile at the general hospital starting in 1969. So, he probably, I don't know if you've heard the name Billy Hightower, but he was a cardiologist and he used his machine back then,” Glassbrook recalled.

“A version of this technology is still used in heart surgery today. It's just a little more streamlined. Basically, this provided blood and oxygen to the patient while their heart and lungs were paralyzed during the procedure and kept them alive.

The winners of this year’s Mobile Community Health and Leadership Awards will be recognized on Saturday.

Lynn Oldshue is a reporter for Alabama Public Radio.
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