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March 2018

Putting the “She” in Doctor

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(3):323-324. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.8362

Margaret Ann Bulkley,1 an Irish military surgeon in the nineteenth century, lived a double life. She disguised herself as a man so she could enroll in medical school and pursue a surgical career. She insisted she not be changed out of the clothes in which she died. However, her sex was accidentally revealed in 1865. In the twenty-first century, women enter medicine in large numbers. Yet, I wonder what I could accomplish if I followed Dr Bulkley’s lead, if I practiced medicine as a man.