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Category: medicine
  • Dr. Kazue Togasaki became one of the first Japanese American women to earn a medical degree in the US.

    In the midst of World War II, as many people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated in internment camps, a pioneering doctor helped ensure that pregnant women got the best care she could provide. Dr. Kazue Togasaki fought sexism and racism to become one of the first Japanese American women to earn a medical degree in the US. Over the course of her remarkable career, she delivered over 10,000 babies, including 50 during one month at the Tanforan Assembly Center. "In other camps, I know they’d send the pregnant women out to the nearest county hospital to deliver, but I never thought about sending them out from Tanforan," she recalled years later. "I thought it was my duty." Continue reading Continue reading

  • "Nobody, but nobody, is going to stop breathing on me."

    You've likely heard doctors or parents talking about a baby's Apgar Score, but did you know that this lifesaving measure is named for its creator, Dr. Virginia Apgar, the pioneering anesthesiologist whose work has helped save countless newborns? The Apgar Score, which is now used in many countries around the world, helps doctors quickly assess the health of newborns to determine if they need medical intervention. Apgar also authored a groundbreaking book called Is My Baby All Right? which provided parents with a reassuring and informative guide to birth defects, which had previously been a taboo topic and a source of shame to many families. Apgar's unflagging determination to provide the best possible care for both women and their babies is perhaps best summed up by her famous quote: "Nobody, but nobody, is going to stop breathing on me." Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of books, pretend play toys, science kits, and clothing celebrating doctors and nurses!

    If there's one thing that the coronavirus crisis has taught us, it's that health professionals are heroes! From the doctors and nurses providing care in clinics and hospitals, to the lab technicians running tests, to the researchers investigating medications and vaccines, the public has a new appreciation for medical professionals and the work that they do. And that means that kids may be showing a new interest in medicine and the human body — both in their play and as a possible future career! Continue reading Continue reading

  • Over 60 years, over 60,000 women have been treated for free for this devastating childbirth injury at Dr. Hamlin's fistula hospital.

    When Dr. Catherine Hamlin and her husband, Reg, first arrived in Ethiopia in 1959, a fellow gynecologist warned them that "the fistula patients will break your hearts." They did — but also they ignited the Hamlins' determination to help. Hamlin and her husband co-founded the non-profit Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation, and in the decades since, over 60,000 women have been treated free of charge at their hospitals. Hamlin, died on Wednesday at the age of 96 in Addis Ababa, hoped to inspire people around the world to help eliminate this devastating and entirely preventable childbirth injury which affects more than two million young women worldwide. "This terrible condition has been eradicated in the West," the Nobel Peace Prize nominee said. "In countries like Ethiopia it is a common condition.... [Here] women come into labor and there's nobody to help them." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Before Sara Josephine Baker took charge, a third of children died before their 5th birthdays.

    At the beginning of the 20th century, the pioneering physician Sara Josephine Baker revolutionized public health care for children in New York City. When Baker started her public health work, the impoverished slums of Hell's Kitchen on the city's Lower East Side were among the most densely populated places on Earth, and epidemics killed an estimated 4,500 people each week in the overcrowded immigrant tenements, including 1,500 babies. With a third of children born there dying before their fifth birthday, Baker famously remarked that "It is six times safer to be a soldier in the trenches than a baby in the United States." Thanks to her initiatives, the death rate plummeted, and Baker became famous as doctor who had saved 90,000 children in New York City and countless others as her reforms were replicated across the United States and in other countries. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Dr. Shuping Wang faced violence and intimidation for exposing the truth about epidemics in China that killed more than one million people.

    In the early 1990s, Dr. Shuping Wang discovered a shockingly high rate of contaminated blood at collection centers in China's Henan province. Despite threats, intimidation, and violence, Wang became a two-time whistleblower, exposing first China's hepatitis C epidemic and later its raging HIV epidemic, which killed over one million people in the country during this period. Wang, who died recently at the age of 59, said that there was never any question that she would persevere in exposing the truth about the epidemics even in the face of severe personal consequences. "Being a medical doctor, my primary interest is to my patients and to the public, not to myself," she said in an interview shortly before her death. "Speaking out cost me my job, my marriage and my happiness at the time, but it also helped save the lives of thousands and thousands of people." Continue reading Continue reading

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