Shirley Gish

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Claire Louise Caudill is one of those rare people who have become legends in their own time. She delivered more than 8,000 babies over the years, in and around her hometown of Morehead, Kentucky. In 1995 she was named Country Doctor of the Year, and she has been interviewed by CBS and featured in USA Today. Dr. Caudill stopped delivering babies when she turned seventy, but today, at the age of 86, she remains in practice- her patients won't let her retire! Her friend Susie Halbleib has served as nurse in Caudill's clinic since it opened in 1946. Caudill was instrumental in establishing a hospital in Morehead and for more than fifty years has worked to improve health care for the people of the Kentucky hill country. The first part of Country Doctor tells Caudill's story through interviews with Dr. Caudill, Nurse Halblieb, and the people who know them best. The second reproduces a one-woman, two-act play entitled Me 'n Susie, inspired by Dr. Caudill's warmth and humor. Together, the play and interviews provide a vivid picture of life in the hills of Eastern Kentucky and a remarkable portrait of two great women in medicine.

"Gish captures the lives of Caudill and nurse colleague Susie Halbleib by converting oral history into creative performance."—Choice

"An important record in the success of rural medicine. . . . Readers get a closer look at mountain medicine before ambulances, interstate highways, and intensive care units."—Family Medicine

"A welcome wave in what we can hope will be a storm surge of scholarly works on the women of Kentucky."—Filson Club History Quarterly

"Chronicles the life and accomplishments of a woman born and raised in Kentucky who did her best to improve life in her hometown and surrounding area."—Kentucky Monthly

"Thanks in part to Gish's great book, Caudill's good works will be remembered for generations to come."—Lexington Herald-Leader

"It is a measure of the book that it leaves the reader wishing to know more."—Louisville Courier-Journal

"While reading Country Doctor . . . it is impossible to ignore the emotional and physical hardiness required of rural practitioners and how much a rural community can benefit, in some cases, from the development of a rural hospital."—Texas Journal of Rural Health

"Gish has made a major contribution to history in bringing attention to one of the most dedicated and fascinating Kentuckians of our time. . . . It is simply a story of determination and goodness and one that ought to go down as a model for a younger generation."—The Voice-Tribune

"Lively, informative, and engaging. A warm and convincing picture of life in the town of Morehead and the surrounding area of Eastern Kentucky."—Wallace A. Bacon

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Claire Louise Caudill, Kentucky, Susie Halblieb, Women physicians, Women doctors


United States History

Country Doctor: The Story of Dr. Claire Louise Caudill
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