Union County Medical Certificates, 1896-1996
(238 records)
(Updated: November 5, 2015)

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Physicians, Surgeons, and Limited Practitioners (1896-1996)

These records contain a record of the certificates issued by the state medical board to allow medical practice in Ohio.  Shows certificates number, practitioner, county of residence, date, name and location of degree-granting institution, and whether authorized to practice medicine and surgery, chiropody, mechanotherapy, chiropractic massage, or osteopathy, and shows date certificate recorded in probate court.

On February 27, 1896, the Ohio General Assembly passed an act “To regulate the practice of medicine in the state of Ohio.”  This act required the creation of “a state board of medical registration and examination, consisting of seven members” who were physicians.  The board was mandated to keep a “register of all applicants for certificates, giving the name and location of the institution granting the applicant the degree of doctor of medicine or surgery.”  “No person” could “practice medicine, surgery, or midwifery” without “complying with requirements” of the act.  Applicants were obliged were present their diploma and an affidavit attesting to its genuineness and the time they had spent in the practice of medicine.  If the board found everything to be legitimate they were given a certificate – Medical Graduate Certificate – that was to be filed in the Probate Court of the county where they practiced medicine.

If an individual who was deemed to be a “legal practitioner of medicine under the laws of Ohio in force at the time of the passage” of the law, “but not a graduate of medicine or surgery” could also apply for a certificate.  They had to furnish the board with “an affidavit, duly attested, stating the period during which and the places at which” they had “been engaged in the practice of medicine or surgery.”  If the board was satisfied they were granted a certificate – Legal Practitioner Certificate.  This certificate was also required to be filed in the Probate Court of the county where they practiced medicine.

A person engaged in “the practice of medicine…but not a legal practitioner…nor a graduate in medicine or surgery” could apply for a certificate.  They had to present themselves to the Medical Board and be examined before them as to their qualifications to practice medicine.  If they satisfactorily passed the examination they were issued a certificate to practice medicine for one year – One Year Certificate.  This certificate like the others had to be filed with the Probate Court of the county where they practiced.

The board could reject any applicant – medical graduate, legal practitioner or one year – if they were “guilty of felony or gross immorality, or addicted to the liquor or drug habit.”  A certificate could later be revoked based on the previous stipulations.  An applicant could appeal a board decision to the governor and attorney general whose decision would be final.  Individuals who were practicing medicine at the time of the passage of the law were given ninety days to obtain a certificate.  It took a vote of five members, of the seven member board, to either issue or invalidate a certificate.  The county probate judges were required to keep the certificates in a book and to send the names of all practicing physicians in the county to the secretary of state every year.  If a physician changed their residence they were compelled to file their certificate again with the Probate Court in the county which they had moved into during the year.

Every person practicing “midwifery” in the state had to file with the probate judge of the county they resided an affidavit stating “the length of time during which and the place or places at which” they had been engaged in the practice of being a midwife and any “special education” they had received.  Upon successful completion the probate judge would issue a certificate allowing the person to practice midwifery in the state – Midwife Certificate.  If the person moved they were required to file the certificate in the county of their new residency.  Anyone who failed to register for either the physician certificates or midwife certificate and continued to practice were guilty of a misdemeanor offense.  The provisions of the law did not apply to anyone in the armed forces, those practicing dentistry or anyone who resided out of state.

This law was amended on April 21, 1902.  The revision regulated the practice of osteopathic medicine in the state.  It created a subsidiary committee to the Medical Board – the osteopathic examining committee – who inspected individuals who applied to practice osteopathic medicine in the state.  Like the earlier law these individuals had to provide the committee with “a diploma or a physician’s osteopathic certificate from a reputable college of osteopathy as determined” by the committee.  Secondly they had to prove that they had completed coursework in the subjects of pathology, physiological chemistry, gynecology, minor surgery, osteopathic diagnosis, principles and practice of osteopathy.  Persons already engage in the practice of osteopathic medicine had thirty days to comply with the law.  Those meeting the legal standards were granted a certificate, but were barred from administering drugs and performing major surgeries.  Once the certificate was granted they had to file it in the Probate Court of the county they resided.

Governor Frank Willis approved another revision to this law on May 1, 1915.  This supplement sought to regulate “limited branches” of medicine.  The State Medical Board was empowered to “examine and register persons desiring to practice any limited branch or branches of medicine or surgery.”  These “limited branches” were specified as being “chiropractic, naprapathy, spondylotherapy, mechanotherapy, neuropathy, electro-therapy, hydro-therapy, suggestive-therapy, psycho-therapy, magnetic healing, chiropody, Swedish movements [and], massage.”  The board was authorized to call to “its aid” persons specializing in such fields to assist in the examination process.  If the applicant passed the consideration of the board they were issued a certificate – Limited Practitioner Certificate.  They were forbidden to “practice any other branch or branches of medicine or surgery nor” were they allowed “to treat infectious, contagious or venereal diseases” nor “prescribe or administer drugs, or to perform major surgery.”  They too were required to file their certificate in the Probate Court of the county in which they practiced.

The limited practitioner certificate was modified in November 1975 to exclude chiropractors.  The law established the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners.  This board examined the credentials of chiropractors and granted licenses to practice chiropractic medicine accordingly.  These licenses were required to be filed in the Probate Court of residency of the practicing chiropractor.  The laws requiring the registration of medical certificates with the local Probate Courts throughout the state were repealed in 1997.

Nurses Licenses (1916-1956)

These records contain copies of the nursing certificates of registered nurses who intended to practice nursing within Union County.  The records show certificate number, nurse, county of residence, date, name and location of degree-granting school of nursing, indicates date certificate issued with names of chairman and secretary-treasurer of the state nurses board signing the certificate, and also shows date certificate recorded in the probate court and the judge.

On April 27, 1915, the Ohio General Assembly passed a law “to regulate the practice of nursing in the state of Ohio.”  This law required all individuals practicing as registered nurses, after January 1, 1916, to receive certification from a nurses’ examination committee.  The applicant was to present their diploma and to state the “actual time spent in the study of nursing.”  If their credentials were acceptable to the board, based on guidelines from the State Medical Board, they were granted a certificate to practice nursing.  The individual was then required to file their certificate with the probate judge and this served as “conclusive evidence that its owner [was] entitled to practice nursing as a registered nurse” in the State of Ohio.