The Saranac Lake Medical Society dates to at least 1901. Past presidents include Dr. Edward Packard, Dr. Winfield O. Kelley, Dr. Emanuel Wolinsky and Dr. Woods Price.

Members included Dr. Warriner Woodruff, Dr. Mack McConkey and Dr. Mary Kohl.

Adirondack Enterprise, February 7, 1935 (reprinted in Howard Riley's column on May 9, 2015)

Medical Society meets at John Black Room

More than 75 members and guests of the Saranac Lake Medical Society heard Dr. Edward R. Baldwin and Dr. S. A. Petroff discuss a new and puzzling disease of the lungs at a meeting last might at the John Black Room on Church Street. Dr. Baldwin called his paper, "A Chronic Case of Pneumonitis associated with Non-pathogenic Acid-fast Bacillus." Dr. Petroff discussed the bacteriology of the bacillus, using lantern slides and cultures by way of illustration. Dr. Mack McConkey, president of the society, was in the chair.

Tupper Lake Free Press And Herald, February 17, 1938

Noted Physician to Address Open Meet At Saranac Feb. 25

Dr. Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, will address an open meeting at the town hall in Saranac Lake next Friday evening, Feb. 26th, at 8 o'clock on the subject "Fads and Quackery In Medicine."

The meeting will be under the auspices of the Saranac Lake Medical Society. It will be open to the public and a cordial invitation has been extended by the Saranac society to residents of Tupper Lake and vicinity to attend

Lake Placid News, June 21, 1946


A Cancer Teaching Day was held Wednesday in the John Black Room of the Saranac Laboratory, Saranac Lake, under the auspices of the Medical Society of the County of Franklin, the Saranac Lake Medical Society, the Medical Society of the State of New York and the Division of Cancer Control of the New York State Department of Health.

The afternoon session was called to order by the chairman, Dr. Leon Pasasino, president of the Medical Society of the County of Franklin. Opening remarks were made by Dr. Morton L. Levin, director of the Division of Cancer Control. The program consisted of talks by Dr. Arthur J. Wallingford, professor of Gynecology, Albany Medical College, and by Dr. Cushman D. Haagensen, assistant professor of Surgery, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University. Following a dinner at the Saranac Hotel, Dr. Winfield O. Kelley, president of the Saranac Lake Medical Society, presided at the evening meeting. Talks given by Dr. Robert J. Booher, clinical asssistant, Gastric and Mixed Tumor Service, Memorial Hospital, New York City; and by Dr. John D. Stewart, professor of Surgery at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, January 26, 1956

[...] The Saranac Lake Medical Society, taking its proper and natural position along with these State and National organizations, endorses the recommendation of the Consolidated Board of Health to the effect that fluoridation of the Saranac Lake public water supply be started as soon as possible.

June 30, 1966


Last night at the Hotel Saranac the great and moving medical tradition of Saranac Lake was evoked with pride, with humor and, as the Mexican folksong sang by Gloria Ayvazian and Joan Utterback put it, with a little sentiment, too.

It was compassionate medical care which created this village and brought it to international fame. The names of Trudeau, Brown, Gardner, Baldwin and many others would belong in medicine's hall of fame if one existed. Their fame rested on their contributions in research and in life-saving medical care, but also on the spirit of service which marked their careers.

The only blot on their medical escutcheon, rarely mentioned, was their successful lobbying efforts to prevent the construction in this village of the Sunmount Veterans Hospital because they did not want the "rabble" of the World War I veterans to disrupt the easy flow of life in this then successful health community. But that mistaken effort has long since been forgotten, even buried.

It was fitting that the Saranac Lake Medical Society should honor the "old timers" who are still with us: Dr. John Hayes, Dr. Henry Leetch, Dr. Edward Packard, Dr. William Steenken, Dr. Edward Welles and Morris Dworski.

But what of the future? With the great doctors who are now practicing here, with the Trudeau and Will Rogers research facilities, that medical future is being magnificently continued, despite the fact that changing medicine has made tuberculosis curing here less essential than formerly.

Another change in medical practice starts tomorrow with Medicare and the state's Medicaid program will bring still further changes, Are these changes good or bad? Will they be welcomed or resisted to the bitter end?

Last night's master of ceremonies, Dr. Carl Merkel, whose friendship we have treasured since coming here and who, incidentally, knows this scribe in and out, quite literally, made an understandable medical jest and used poetic license in opening the meeting with the remark that "Beginning on Friday we'll have to write to Malone, Albany or Washington to get permission to get together."

We hope Dr. Merkel didn't really believe his own jest.

There are essentially two approaches the medical profession can take in the face of the changes that are now about to take place.

They can resist them intransigently, fighting all the way, even to the point of refusing to cooperate. They can insist that the social aspects of medicine are not subject to legitimate change, that the rules of the past are inviolate, permanent, everlasting.

Or they can welcome the pioneering new fields now opening, the opportunity to bring their healing arts to greater numbers of people. In doing so, they can still defend the right of freedom of choice, both by doctor and patient. They can criticize the new arrangements, recognizing that everything new—even medicine itself—is accomplished through trial and error, and that the Vast new programs are bound to make mistakes which can always be rectified.

In any case, The Enterprise would be happy to print any and all opinions of our local doctors.

The Medicaid program has, admittedly, a number of controversial features, the most significant of which is the level of eligibility.

The figure of $6,000 after taxes for a family of four would encompass, it is estimated, three-quarters of the people of the area. The tough obstacle here is that Title XIX of the federal law prohibits the state from setting different income qualifications for different areas. On the surface this prohibition seems unreasonable, but the complications that would be involved if the state were cut up into differing areas of eligibility would be ghastly.

One aspect of this might, in the long run, be economically helpful to the area. This is a backhand way of raising the unusually low family income, and the money which each family will save on medical services will be spent . . . for housing, for clothes, for food, etc. Unless more help is forthcoming, the doctors could be swamped, but the merchants would stand to gain.

We have no firm views on the details, many of which may well be all wrong, but we stand with the famous lines of the poet Shelley: "Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow; Naught may endure but Mutability." J.L. [Jim Loeb]