Elizabeth Blackwell: Famous Women (Poem)

I wanted to become a doctor

After my friend fell ill and said

“If I had a woman doctor

I might have suffered less.”

Doctors said,

“Disguise yourself as a man

If you want to study medicine.”

I was rejected by all the medical schools

But one

They asked the 150 male students to vote

On whether to take me

If even one said no I was sunk

All said yes.

After graduating

I went to Paris to study more

While treating a child

I got infected

Lost sight in an eye.

Went back to New York

To start my own practice

And a medical college for women

With more clinical training

Than men had to undergo.

I chose to stay single

Couldn’t find my other half

Just a sixth.

Here’s my earlier poem in this series on famous women.

Read more about Elizabeth Blackwell here. The Blackwells family had many women in it, who were brought up in a liberal manner. Elizabeth’s brother Henry married suffragist Lucy Stone, about whom I’ve written a poem too. Will publish that soon.

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