Dr. D. F. Ragan, M. D., occuipies the very important position of health officer of San Francisco. Than the health department of a large city there is no division of municipal government affecting more closely the well-being and actual safety of the people. As the executive officer of the board of health Dr. Ragan must be on the watch against adulterated foodstuffs, impure milks and unsanitary conditions of all kinds. It is his duty to see that persons affected with contagious diseases are isolated and that they may not be permitted to mingle socially until all danger of infection is past; that strict quarantine is enforced about all patients with the measles, mumps, whooping-cough, scarlet fever, diphtheria, typhoid, yellow fever, plague, leprosy, smallpox, etc., and, more recently, tuberculosis. In San Francisco the health department often wrecks and destroys entire buildings in such unsanitary quarters as Chinatown. The crusade for health with which Dr. Ragan has been specially identified and in which he has accomplished inestimable good for all persons, but in particular the children, has been his relentless warfare against impure milk, and it is highly creditable to his efficiency that the supply of wholesome milk has visibly increased and that it is now very difficult if not impossible for an inferior quality to be foisted upon the innocent public. In these and in many other ways Dr. Ragan has been of great service to his city, and his career as medical practitioner in San Francisco during some seventeen years has brought him to notice as one of the foremost physicians of the Pacific coast.
Dr. Ragan was born in Placer county of this state, April 21, 1861, being a son of Dennis and Catherine (Downey) Ragan. His father was born in Ireland, and when very young came to the United States, locating in the south, and in 1854 followed the westward trail of civilization to California, where he spent the rest of his life. He was a farmer for many years, and in this state was a miner, both making and losing money at this occupation.
Dr. Ragan was educated in the common and high schools, and, like so many who seek professional life, was engaged in teaching school during his younger years, being a successful instructor for ten years in Placer county and in San Francisco. He studied medicine in the Cooper Medical College, from which he was graduated in 1887. In a competitive exmination with twenty-seven others he received an appointment as interne at the city and county hospital in San Francisco. From 1890 to 1894 he was chief of clinic of nervous diseases in the Cooper Medical College, which place he resigned in order to take the office of United States pension examiner, which he still holds. He is secretary of the board of pension examiners. He has also been a member of the city board of education. In addition to all these duties and his engrossing work as city health officer he carries on a large private practice in the city.
Dr. Ragan was married to Miss Mary E. Sweeney, a daughter of M. H. Sweeney, and they have five children. Mrs. Ragan is an active worker in religious affiars and is grand president of the Young Ladies' Institute.
Return to California AHGP home page
Return to Sacramento County AHGP home page