Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Review of "Elizabeth Blackwell: First Woman M. D.," by Ephraim Fischoff

 Review of

Elizabeth Blackwell: First Woman M. D., by Ephraim Fischoff

Five out of five stars

A true pioneer in medicine and equal rights

 Raised in a liberal environment where her father was a member of the progressive socialist movement, Elizabeth Blackwell was determined to become a physician. However, she faced enormous obstacles put up by both conservative and liberal members of the (then all male) medical profession. Even those that treated her kindly  and in a supportive manner expressed reluctance in allowing her to attend medical school and enter practice.

 Ironically, it was a cynical move by Dean Charles A. Lee of Geneva Medical College that allowed her to attend medical school. Since Blackwell was so highly recommended by a respected physician in her application, Lee was reluctant to reject her on his authority. In an attempt to pass the responsibility on, he put the issue of her acceptance to the medical student body.

 To his surprise, they voted unanimously to allow her admittance, after which Lee could not deny her entry. However, they were not as magnanimous in their coursework, creating additional difficulties for her. Upon graduation, Blackwell continued to face significant opposition to engaging in additional education, starting a practice and acquiring patients. Yet, with the help of several people, especially Quaker women, she managed to open a hospital and treat many patients, especially the poor.

 Blackwell was also a pioneer in the new movement in medicine to engage in the highest possible hygienic practices. It is hard to believe that this was once a radical idea in medicine, it of course won out because of the science behind it.

 One of the people that struggled and suffered because they were a pioneer for change in society, Elizabeth Blackwell deserves to be treated as a hero that changed the world. This short book will generate an interest in you in learning more about this remarkable woman.  

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