Tag: doctors

“Battalion of Life”: American Women’s Hospitals and the First World War

Shortly after the United States entered the First World War in April 1917, Dr. Rosalie Slaughter Morton of Virginia published an article describing the work of Scottish Women’s Hospitals, a medical unit staffed entirely by female physicians who were caring for wounded servicemen among the Allied nations. Morton hoped this agency would serve as a… Read more →

Seeking Health and Doing Harm: Gender Bias, Medical Sexism, and Women’s Encounters with Modern Medicine

A 2011 survey completed by faculty at forty-four medical schools in the United States and Canada indicated that 70% of institutions did not have “a formal sex- and gender-specific integrated medical curriculum,” failing to provide adequate instruction on specific health topics for which sex- and gender-based evidence exists.1 This striking statistic, coupled with a personal… Read more →

Who is Dead?

The February 5, 2018 New Yorker carried a story of Jahi McMath and her family. In 2013, McMath went into Oakland’s Children’s Hospital for a routine surgery for tonsil removal. After the surgery, she experienced extreme blood loss and her heart stopped beating. Two days later, a doctor declared her brain dead. Her family battled… Read more →

Golden Girls, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and the Legacies of Hysteria

On September 23, 1989, the fifth season of Golden Girls opened with a two-episode arc entitled “Sick and Tired.”1 The show as a whole focuses on the fictional comedic escapades of four older women sharing a home in Miami, Florida. The story line that opened the fifth season, however, was deeply autobiographical in nature, as… Read more →

I’m Not Crazy!: Abby Norman’s Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women’s Pain

I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I had my first laparoscopy at 14. I’m very lucky. I got my period when I was 12, and from the start I was in such pain that I regularly missed school. Thankfully, my mother also had endometriosis and knew (although hoped she was not right) that I probably… Read more →

Heterosexuality in Medicine

I walk into the examination room, dreading what is about to happen. My heart’s racing. First, they take my warm comfortable clothes and make me put on a plain, crinkly, paper gown. The doctor walks in and washes her hands, making them ice cold to the touch. I get goosebumps. I lay down on a… Read more →

Remembering the Mothers of Gynecology: Deirdre Cooper Owens’ Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology

Antebellum physician James Marion Sims has been in the news quite a bit lately as a target of activism. After the Charlottesville white supremacist rallies, efforts to take down Confederate monuments have spread across the country, and those efforts have included statues of James Marion Sims. Sims is known for developing a successful technique for… Read more →

Explicit: Censorship, Sexology, and Sexuality in Independent Ireland

When the Irish Free State created the Censorship of Publications Board in 1929, they were arguably asserting their independence.1 By taking control of information, and defining standards of morality and decency through banned literature, censorship was in fact a rejection of colonial rule. Much of the independent Irish identity hinged on a sense of moral… Read more →

“There Had Been No Penetration:” Male Surgeons’ Roles in Defining Rape in Eighteenth-Century England

In July of 1715, when Mary Marsh was asked about the details of her rape, she claimed that “the Prisoner threw her upon the Bed, press’d her very hard, and put something into her, but was so modest she would not declare what.”1 When two medical surgeons “depos’d that there had been no penetration,” William… Read more →

“Bought some souvenirs as usual and a cheese:” Nurses’ Lives Outside the Hospital in the First World War

A great deal has been written about soldiers’ experiences behind the lines during the First World War and the relationships they forged in the course of their service. From visiting brothels to performing in amateur theatricals, interpersonal and romantic relationships had lasting effects on men after their service had ended.1 Janet S.K. Watson has noted… Read more →