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For 100 years, the soft rustle of skirts has been a prominent sound in the hallways of Chicago's Mary Thompson Hospital.
Currently celebrating its centennial, the 112-bed facility is believed by its officials to be America's only remaining hospital with an all-woman attending staff.
The hospital was opened on May 8, 1865 in a converted frame house. It had 14 beds and a dispensary.
The original bylaws, which remain unchanged, stipulate that only women may serve on the attending staff. Men have served on the consulting and courtesy staffs from the beginning.
Mary Harris Thompson, MD, who is generally regarded as Chicago's first woman physician and surgeon, founded the hospital with the support of many of the area's leading citizens.
Originally called the Chicago Hospital for Women and Children, its original task was the care of widows and children of Civil War veterans. Rapidly, however, its responsibility broadened to that
A Hospital Staffed Only By Women for 100 Years. JAMA. 1965;193(6):30–38. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090060152041