By Maggie Wurst, SMC, ’17
From the time DPM Christine Miller ’03 was a young girl, she had an interest in the Revolutionary War.
“I’m from Trenton, so I grew up in a historic town,” said Miller. “Ever since I was little, I’ve liked the Revolutionary War.”
However, it wasn’t until a few years ago when she was researching the ancestry of her father’s family that Miller found her connection to her passion.
“I had my first child and I started to do an ancestry search about my father’s side of my family,” said Miller. “I found out that I have at least five ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War under George Washington, and that was a big discovery for me.”
While earning her undergraduate degree, Miller found a second passion in medicine, and after graduating from TUSPM, her historical interests grew to encompass medical procedures of the 18th Century.
“My specialty in podiatry is limb salvage and wound care, and in military medicine, you see the history of injuries involving the lower extremities,” said Miller. “It connects my current profession to the profession of the past and some of the most shocking things to me are how we performed limb amputation without anesthesia.”
By volunteering at the Spanish Military Hospital Museum in St. Augustine, FL, Miller has been able to combine her two passions and use her experiences to influence her podiatric career.
A few years ago, Miller moved to Florida to start working at the University of Florida as an adjunct clinical faculty member, and quickly found the Spanish Military Hospital Museum.
“I happened to be walking around and I stumbled on the Spanish Military Hospital Museum, and I took the tour,” said Miller. “It was a natural fit for my interests because it covered the 18th century period of medical practices.”
Recently, Miller has been completing research for the museum and providing guidance for equipment investment.
“I’m directly involved with researching the actual medical procedures that were performed on site at the hospital,” said Miller. “I also determine what instruments were used and help the owners order accurate display items.”
According to Miller, her work with the museum has given her a new level of perspective as a podiatrist, and she encourages her fellow DPMs to find their own second passion.
“I think that having an outside passion gives you perspective and I think it makes you more open to new ideas and concepts,” said Miller. ““I think it makes you better versed in what you do.”
The Spanish Military Hospital was established in 1791 in honor of King Charles IV of Spain during the Second Spanish Period. In addition to being a hospital, the building also had a mourning room that allowed families to grieve over their deceased soldier for 24 hours.
Now, the hospital has been turned into a museum by Barbara and Nicholas Wilson who have kept the ground floor and garden in the same way that they would have been during the years of the hospital’s operation.
For more information about the Spanish Military Hospital, please visit http://spanishmilitaryhospitalmuseum.com/.