Editorial: Women doctors (8-15-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 15, 1941)


By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

There are about 8,000 women doctors in the United States. Although the American Medical Association at a recent meeting in Cleveland voted down a resolution to make these women eligible for Army Reserve commissions, maybe the war will be the ill wind that blows them good.

With half the people of the world shooting up the other half, doctors are bound to be popular for some time to come. And since women are urged to prepare themselves for every sort of work, there seems no good reason why they shouldn’t handle surgical as well as other tools.

In every city there is a sprinkling of women doctors. Those I’ve met are capable, sturdy, intelligent persons possessing integrity and good sense. They manage to live useful, happy lives, though few have become rich. In little towns, their kind is rarer. Yet rural districts, we are told, face a dangerous dearth of physicians. Our growing Army has stripped hundreds of small communities of capable doctors. A real shortage exists, and the field is wide open to feminine comers.

Women nurses have been doing the messiest and most gruesome jobs in hospitals and near battlefields for a good many years, and they cringe at nothing in their zeal to ease suffering. Their record in every great disaster is a noble one. And since they match the men in patience, intelligence and skill with their hands, what’s to hinder a big new flock of doctors in petticoats?

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