Petticoat Surgeon Author:Bertha Van Hoosen Beautiful inside cover art and a well-told story that is also true, told by the woman who lived it. — Bertha Van Hoosen — Bertha Van Hoosen was born in 1863 and grew up on her family’s farm (what is now the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm) in Stoney Creek Village. There she learned the ways of a farm, witnessing the birth of countless fa... more »rm animals. Overtime, she developed a love of medicine and science.
While her parents supported higher education for women, they were less enthusiastic about Van Hoosen’s desire to pursue a medical career and become a surgeon. Undeterred, she worked to earn money to attend the University of Michigan, from which she graduated with a degree in medicine in 1888.
She went on to specialize in women’s medicine and childbirth.
“At a time when women doctors were rare,” notes the museum’s web site, “Bertha served her community as an obstetrician, gynecologist and surgeon. Her illustrious career spanned more than 50 years.”
During her career, Van Hoosen developed a number of innovative practices and techniques. Among them were the “buttonhole” appendectomy (the first laproscopic-type techniques I've ever read of)and the use of scopolamine morphine (Twilight Sleep) as an anesthetic during childbirth.
Additionally, Van Hoosen taught medicine, serving as a professor at the Women’s Medical College of Northwestern University and at the University of Illinois. She became head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Loyola University and founded the American Medical Women’s Association.
Van Hoosen was also an early champion of sterilizing surgical instruments to prevent infection, minimising c-sections and episiotimies, and campaigned for women’s equality in the field of medicine.« less