His the "Tender Heart of a Healer
Veteran Physician Is a Man
Of Plain Words, Many Ideas
Photo and Story by Qaentin Allen
Dr. Mark Dempsey, of Garrett, has been practicing medicine
for more than 50 years, and has formed strong ideas concerning
the health problems of the nation, He is a man with frost on his
hair, a social-philosopher's mind, and the tender heart of a
healer. He is a man who could have gleaned a fortune from a
medical practice but chose, instead. The rewards of giving
people healthy bodies in lieu of materialistic gains.
Dr. Dempsey is a vigorous man, although he is 85. He speaks in the clear, strong tones of conviction after considered thought. He is plain in his beliefs:
(1) He is a New-Dealer Democrat, and makes no bones about it.
(2) He would not allow one penny of state relief to people who smoke and drink.
(3) He believes tbat people should have free medical care.
(4) He believes that the government should spend the tax money on our own people instead of
squandering it on "drunk Frenchmen or grape-stomping Italians."
(5) Every man, regardless of who he is, should be trained to do skilled work.
Dr. Dempsey is a plain, working man who has more aspirations to serve his fellowman by his
medical knowledge than gain prestige and fortune. This story is being told about the doctor. One patient, On being counted out a sizeable package of pills for his ailments, was said to have told Dr. Dempsey had charged him only a dollar: "Doctor, you can't make any money selling your medicine like this."
The doctor shot back "Who in the @)#@ is selling this medicine? I know what I pay for it.
The doctor is not One to take "sass" But he is keenly sensitive to the sufferings of the unfortunate, and his heart brings him to practice the philosophy that his mind dictates. These people didn't ask to come into the world. Somebody has to take care of them. Only 2O%of the people in the United States can afford medical treatment the doctor said. Dr. Dempsey and Mrs. Dempsey have made their home at Garrett since 1924 when Dr. M. V Wicker employed him to help out in a medical practice connected with the Elk Horn Coal Corporation around Garrett and Wayland. He is oringally from Logan West Virginia and is a third cousin of Jack Dempsey the former heavyweight boxing champion of the world, the doctor doesn't try to impress anyone with his famous Relative. "A lot of people are kin to Jack, he observes. The doctor's favorite subject is medicine and human needs The scientist should take over the health program. Then we'd get rid of the dangerous use of tobacco. I've seen old-timers up and down these creeks chewin their cuds like old cows. Pretty soon they come to me complaining about how numb their legs are. Their circulation is cut off. They get Burger's disease. It plugs up the arteries in the legs and arms just like corks." Dr. Dempsey is disgusted with the neglect of the people. When you meet the man is ready to talk of the people's need to. become whole and become as citizens of this country. The doctor fears that his views may be misinterpreted. He is an avowed enemy of totalitarianism of communism, Hitlerism or any enforced subjugation of individual rights-but he can point out inequalities existing in our system of government which might be corrected, he has said through courageous and honest leadership. All classes of people regardless of who they are, should be trained to do skilled work and be disease free. Our government seems to to take the attitude that, If you can't do something for yourself then it won't be done. One man can't shoot a rocket to the moon. It takes the experts, the specialists. It takes the collective effort on the part of the people through the government.
One person can't give an education to eliminate the illiteracy and the disease of our people. Only the government and the scientists and the experts can do this."
"I have practiced medicine in more rich and poor homes than any other doctor in Eastern Kentucky. I have practiced among the Negro, the Jew, the Italian, the Indian. They are all the same. The Negroes treated me better than anyone has ever treated me. The people in the lower economic class are being neglected. "The experts should treat them. They should be free of disease, should have free medical service as they do in Great Britain or Russia."
"No. I am not a Communist." But how do we hope to compete with Russia? How do we compete with Russia when we have much ignorance and illiteracy? You find ignorance worse in the city than you do in
the country it hadn't been for some ignorant senators, Franklin D. Roosevelt would have made great land reforms. He wanted to irrigate the arid lands of our western states. Truman was a good president. too, before the wrong men caught hold of him. "I hope to God that we get some statesmen who can deliver us from our apathetic condition. "The doctor thinks that medicine has greatly improved over the years, especially in the continuing trend of specialization. "But," he said, "I think that a young man should spend a few years as a general practitioner. before he specializes. "Dr. Dempsey is not narrow. Changing patterns do not scare him. In progress and betterment he finds the hope of the world He said that he, as a general practitioner, can treat the ordinary diseases. He added that only a specialist can do a specialist's work.
Whether you agree or disagree with the veteran physician about his Views, you can't say he doesn't practice what he preaches about affording medical aid to the poor. Those who have known him all these years. who have seen him ride, horseback, across the hills, over rough, muddy roads into neighboring Knott and Magoffin counties to minister to the sick will vouch for him.
Said one acquaintance: "I've known Doc Dempsey to ride a horse into Quicksand, spend two days caring for a sick woman and ride back out with a sack of cabbage for his fee. And it would have been all the same if he had got nothing."
Below is a Photo of Dr Dempsey