Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Nurses, Doctors, and Babies

Last week I wrote about island native, Kathleen Bragg. In 1974 Alice Rondthaler penned this article about her:

"Miss Kathleen Bragg, R.N., retired in February after twenty-five years of service as Ocracoke School Nurse under the Hyde County Health Service. She graduated from the Parkview Hospital in Rocky Mount in 1925 and thereafter followed her profession of nursing in various places all the way from Jacksonville, Fla., to Hatteras. She returned home to care for her father, who died in 1938, and afterward for her mother, who died in 1971. She was appointed Ocracoke School nurse in 1949 and served in weekly contacts with the school children in permanent health record-keeping for them.

Photo Courtesy OPS

"During this time she continued her private practice at Ocracoke and she prepared for and worked in the various clinics which the County Health Service conducted. These included an annual check-up of pre-school and other students, an eye-clinic, a blood-test clinic and other special work, among adults as well as children.

"Dr. Johnson, of the Hyde and Dare County units, now retired, officiated with Mrs. Sybil Bouchard, R.N., in charge of the Hyde County Department and Mrs. Charlie Cahoon, recording secretary, served also at the clinics, with mainland doctors who made special trips to Ocracoke.

"Miss Bragg lived at her home here during the years when not only did Ocracoke have no resident doctor, but there was no one available, and it was she who served as doctor, as well as nurse, at the birth of many Ocracoke children now grown to adulthood.

"The Hatteras Clinic and its resident doctor has relieved this responsibility for Ocracoke but high winds and high tides have prevented expectant mothers from getting to their doctor, and babies have arrived in emergency situations in strange places. In 1963 little Andy S. O'Neal was born in a C.G. helicopter 810 feet above Camden, and as late as 1971 Dr. Burroughs of Hatteras Medical Center, was brought by amphibious U.S.C.G. Larc to officiate at the birth of Beverly Williams, on the C.G. boat, prevented by high winds and low tides from getting from the Ocracoke to the Hatteras side of the Inlet. Weather emergencies will always be an emergency factor from time to time on Ocracoke Island."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Electrification of Ocracoke Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022117.htm.


  1. Anonymous5:23 PM

    I have a number of old photos of the harbor and plenty of pictures of a boat named 'Miss Kathleen'....was this named after this same person you just wrote about?

    1. The Captain of the "Miss Kathleen" is Ronnie O'Neal. His wife's name is Kathleen. I've never asked him, but I assume his boat is named for his wife.