Image of the admission record for the first patient, Clinton Troxell admitted to Allentown Hospital.
The main street, Hamilton Street, was surfaced with rolled crushed stone and Center Square had not been decorated with the Soldiers' and Sailors' monument when the Hospital received its first patient. On that day, May 23, 1899, the white horse-drawn ambulance, was called to the Central Railroad Station, located between Third and Fourth Streets on Hamilton, to pick up Clinton Troxell of Easton, a bricklayer. Mr. Troxell had fallen when a scaffold on which he was working collapsed, dropping him sixty feet to the ground. He arrived at about 5:30 pm that evening and was quickly taken to the new operating room where four doctors began treatment. They set his leg which was broken in three places, sutured his chin and attended to cuts and bruises on his head and shoulders. Mr. Troxell remained in the hospital 56 days; his bill cost the hospital $1.15 per day.
The doctors who treated Mr. Troxell had little choice of anesthesia; the only safe relief of pain was chloroform and ether. X-rays had been discovered in 1895; it wasn't until late in 1899 that the hospital installed its own x-ray machine. Blood transfusions were unknown at the time, and in the treatment of infections, the physicians and surgeons relied on strengthening the normal bacteria-fighting processes of the body. Typhoid fever was a common ailment of the times, and attributed to 450 admissions from 1908 to 1916.