Freedmen's Bureau Medical Care and Hospital in KentuckyAccording to Alan Raphael, the Freedmen's Bureau Hospital in Kentucky was located in Louisville from 1866-1868. The hospital was part of the medical outreach the Bureau provided to newly-freed African Americans. There were also five outdoor dispensary stations. The Negro orphanages in Lexington and Louisville also received patients.
The operations provided limited medical care but were practically all that was available because of the lack of income among the newly-freed population. Those who happened to live near the medical facilities received the most benefit from the services.
The Freedmen's Bureau medical division in Kentucky employed white doctors. The division head was Dr. Robert A. Bell, who lived in Louisville; he was born in 1825 in Pennsylvania. Dr. Erasmus O. Brown was head of the Bureau hospital in Louisville. Other employees were Dr. J. G. Temple (b. 1822) in Covington, Dr. Richard B. Gilbert (1842-1921) in Owensboro, Dr. John A. Octerlong in Louisville, Dr. A. T. Tuggle in Mt. Sterling, and Dr. Ben P. Drake. Dr. Fred Hassig of Paducah provided free medical care to indigents.
In spite of the doctors' dedication and their fight to continue the services, the overall medical services provided by the Freedmen's Bureau were short-lived and not nearly enough for all who needed the services.
For more information see A. Raphael, "Health and Social Welfare of Kentucky Black People, 1865-1870," Societas (Spring 1972), pp. 143-157; and The Healers, by J. Duffy.