By Jaime Pankowsky, MD, FACS
In 1853, a group of Austin physicians took the initiative for organizing the first Texas Medical Association. San Antonio doctors joined eagerly and one of them, Dr. George Cupples, was elected as one of the officers. The purpose was to unify their voices and actions to promote better care and health for the people of Texas. Dr. Cupples, along with other Bexar physicians, organized the Bexar County Medical Society that same year, the first of its kind in Texas.
Dr. Cupples was to enjoy a long and beneficial professional career in San Antonio. Besides being one of the founders and early presidents of the Bexar County Medical Society, Dr. Cupples was instrumental and very active in convincing the city fathers to create a Committee of Health for the city. At that time, San Antonio suffered a number of severe epidemics which caused hundreds of fatalities: smallpox, measles, cholera and dysentery. The Committee of Health (which later on evolved into the Health Department) was charged with the task of improving the hygienic conditions in the streets and eating places, water purification, and most important at that time, vaccination against smallpox in schoolchildren. Dr. Cupples practiced in San Antonio for many years, spanning the better part of the 19th Century. There is a street in the west part of San Antonio that is named after him.Click here for full article.