Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

February-02-99

Women Surgeons Gaining Clout

In surgery, as in most professions, women still face sex discrimination and are largely confined to the lower-paying, less-prestigious surgical specialties. However, there prospects are improving. Today, women run 6 of Boston's 9 hospital-based breast centers, and at least 25 woman breast surgeons live and work in the Boston area.

Fifteen years ago, Dr. Kathleen Mayzel finished her surgical residency and was eager to find work in the Boston area. She was dismayed that no hospital that was willing to hire her. "Back in 1983, nobody wanted a woman surgeon," she said. Dr. Barbara Smith, who now heads Massachusetts General Hospital's breast cancer center, reported that she had also faced rampant discrimination. While a student of Harvard Medical School, Smith walked into an operating room to find a group of male orthopedic surgical residents chanting, "Nuke the whales, beat the seals, and keep women out of surgery."

Dr. Mayzel eventually was able to find work as a general surgeon, but longed for something better. Three years later, she found the opportunity that she had been looking for. In 1988, she teamed up with Dr. Susan Love to form Boston's first woman-run breast care center. Dr. Love has now left the highly-regarded clinic, which treats patients from around the world.

Patients say that they value the psychological support granted by doctors at Mayzel's breast clinic. Many reported that they had been "talked down-to" by other doctors and appreciate the fact that women can sympathize with what it would be like to lose a breast. Some women choose female doctors specifically for this reason. Fifty-one-year-old breast cancer patient Lorraine Parisella commented, "I think women doctors listen better and they understand the physical and emotional things that women go through." Others argue that the ability to be nurturing and supportive is not limited to male doctors. Surgeon Clint Kaufman stated, "I have found the majority of patients I deal with don't care whether they see a man or woman."

Media Resources: Boston Globe - February 1, 1999


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1. The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
 
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case. UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
 
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall. The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies. Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .