Elizabeth Blackwell

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Elizabeth Blackwell

The first lady doctor

Elizabeth Blackwell was born in 1821 in England. Although she was the third of nine children, her father, the owner of a sugar refinery, could afford to educate all his children.

Before managing to enrol at the University of Geneva in New York, Elizabeth Blackwell had been rejected by ten other universities. On finishing her degree she was recommended to take a course in homeopathy so she could practice medicine unofficially.

Fortunately, she ignored this advice and stayed true to her goals; however, she was disappointed as she was unable to perform surgery due to blindness in one eye. Withher sister, she founded a nursing school for women during the American Civil War, and after the war she set up a University of Medicine for women.

Finally, she returned to England where she worked as a Full Professor of Gynaecology until her retirement at 86. She died three years later, leaving behind several important written works such as “The Laws of Life in reference to the Physical Education of Girls” and “Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women.”