The Chambers County Museum here in LaFayette has received a special donation that highlight’s part of LaFayette history.
Denny Wood donated a portrait of his father Dr. William G. Wood and his physician’s bag to the museum.
Wood said the portrait was commissioned and paid for by his father’s patients many years ago. He says that when the hospital was built, Dr. Wood’s patients commissioned the painting and hung it in the new facility.
“When he died, it was given to the family,” Wood said. “The family feels that it deserves to be in a public place.”
Dr. Wood was the last physician to make house calls in LaFayette, and that’s the reason the bag was donated as well. “It represents a time when doctors made house calls,” he said.
Dr. William Wood was born October 31, 1916 in Camp Hill, and attended Camp Hill High School. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama and his Medical Degree from Alabama Medical School.
Dr. Wood first practiced medicine at Camp Lee, Va. where he served in the military from 1944 to 1945. After that he moved to LaFayette to continue practicing medicine.
Dr. Wood worked at Wheeler Clinic and Wheeler Hospital until they closed in 1967. He then went into practice for himself until his untimely death in 1969.
Kay Farrington Frost grew up in LaFayette and was a schoolmate with Denny Wood. She helped the museum with background on Dr. Wood.
“I talked with some people including his daughter Bet Wright and found some stories to tell about the doctor some of us knew so well,” Frost said.
“Dr. Wood walked into a room with a pregnant lady lying in a bed. She was complaining about being uncomfortable. He looked at the woman and her mom and said, ‘The two pains people forget quickest are labor pains and hangovers.’ The lady had a kidney infection.”
Frost said that Bet made house calls with her father. She remembered sitting on the end of the bed while he was making a call. Her Dad talked and talked to one lady and listened to everything she had to say. When they finished talking, he went into his bag and handed her a big bottle of pink pills. He told her to take one a day.
When they got into the car, he told Bet those were sugar pills. The woman did not feel good but she really just needed to be heard.
Another family that Bet went with her father to see lived way out in the county. He saw a member of the family and gave the father some pills for the child. The man said, “Doc, you know I have no means to pay you.” Dr. Wood said, “Yes you do. See those chickens out there. They lay eggs. I could sure use some eggs.” The man gave Dr. Wood eggs as payment for his visit.
“Dr. Wood told Bet when they got back in the car, ‘when you do things for free, allow the person do something in return. If not, you are robbing them of their dignity,’” Frost said.
Dr. Wood served in the clinic, hospital and made house calls, but many people remember his house calls,” Frost said. “What a wonderful asset to Chambers County. He left behind many fond memories.”
The portrait is now on display at the Chambers County Museum.