Monday, June 11, 2007
New Beginning 292
Seated upon a bench in the echoing marble entryway of the Albany Medical College that Monday afternoon in April, 1861, Mary Sutter made an arresting scene. Taller and wider than was generally considered handsome, a length of curls not easily tamed, but compensated by an enticing brightness about the eyes, she carried in her impatient, straight-backed posture an authority not usually possessed by young women of the age of twenty-one. Anyone passing remembered her, even the hunched young men hurrying to class whose ranks she hoped soon to join. In her gloved hands, she carried the latest of her letters of application, detailing her studies and qualifications for admission. Over the past year, she had sent a dozen letters, one a month, all of which had gone unanswered, and so she had come at eleven o’clock that morning to sit and wait until Doctor Marsh, the head of the college, would be forced to see her.
After a lengthy wait that did nothing to quell Mary’s nerves, she was bade enter the Doctor’s study. “Miss Sutter, I believe we have corresponded previously that there is no place for women in the college of surgeons.” Mary listened intently as Doctor Marsh explained that the role of the female, in medicine, was principally to convey waste from the bed-ridden and to provide occasional manual relief for the over-worked house doctors. And the good Doctor spoke with such gravity and eloquence and acuity of logic, that Mary Sutter could do naught but see the error of her ways.
“So, class. It is thanks to pioneering work by the renowned Doctor Marsh that even today we recognize the special qualities of medics such as Doctor House, or the legendary Marcus Welby, MD; but find laughable the likes of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
“Now, this week’s assignment: Read chapter twelve about the life of the dedicated but misguided Emeline Amerherst, and write a paper on why ovaries and the office of President of the United States would be a disastrous combination for all mankind.”
Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: ril