Nathan Smith (1762-1828) Surgical Consultant to Joseph Smith

Nathan Smith (1762-1828) Surgical Consultant to Joseph Smith
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Nathan Smith (1762-1828) Surgical Consultant to Joseph Smith

Author LeRoy S. Wirthlin

One of the more touching episodes in the life of Joseph Smith was his bout with a serious illness as a young boy when the Smith family lived in Lebanon, New Hampshire, from 1811 through 1813. His mother, Lucy Mack Smith, described a long siege of typhus and vividly recalled a serious operation performed, by Dr. Nathan Smith, in their home on Joseph's leg for a bone infection (osteomyelitis). It should be of interest to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn that Dr. Nathan Smith was the only physician in the United States at the time who had the vision, knowledge, and necessary surgical experience to deal successfully with Joseph Smith's medical problems. The purpose of this paper is to present a sketch of Nathan Smith's professional life which will illuminate the accounts we have of Joseph Smith's boyhood illness and surgical treatment.

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