Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Medical Pioneer Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell!


On January 23, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive her medical degree.  Born in England, she overcame great obstacles to become the first female doctor.  I thought we could honor her hard work and sacrifice by highlighting some of the most interesting female doctors in fictional literature.

Beverly Connor--One Grave Too Many--Diane Fallon is a Georgia forensic anthropologist.

Patricia Cornwell--Postmortem--Kay Scarpetta is the chief medical examiner in Richmond, Virginia.

Ariana Franklin--Mistress of the Art of Death--Adelia Aguilar is a young, medieval doctor sent from Italy to England to assist King Henry I in a murder investigation.

Tess Gerritsen--The Surgeon--Maura Isles is a Boston medical examiner who assists Detective Jane Rizzoli in solving murders.

Greg Iles--Blood Memory--"Cat" Ferry is a forensic odontologist/dentist in Mississippi.

Iris Johansen--The Face of Deception--Eve Duncan is a forensic sculptor.

Kathy Reichs--Deja Dead--Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist in Montreal, Canada and North Carolina, USA.

Karin Slaughter--Blindsighted--Sara Linton is a pediatrician and medical examiner in small town Georgia.

Felicity Young--The Anatomy of Death--Dody McCleland is Britain's first female autopsy surgeon in Edwardian London.

Some helpful definitions:


Forensic anthropology is the application of of anthropology and its several sub-fields in judicial settings both criminal and civil.  A forensic anthropologist can assist in the identification of deceased individuals whose remains are decomposed, burned, mutilated or otherwise unrecognizable.

A medical examiner is a medically qualified officer whose duty is to investigate deaths and injuries that occur under unusual or suspicious circumstances, to perform autopsies, and in some jurisdictions to initiate inquests.

Forensic dentistry or forensic odontology is the proper handling, examination and evaluation of dental evidence, which will be then presented in the interest of justice.  Forensic dentists are responsible for six main areas of practice:
Identification of found human remains
Identification in mass fatalities
Assessment of bite mark injuries
Assessment of cases of abuse 
Civil cases involving malpractice
Age estimation

Forensic facial reconstruction is the process of recreating the face of an individual from their skeletal remains through a mixture of artistry, forensic science, anthropology, osteology (study of bones), and anatomy.  Forensic sculpting uses sculptures created with modeling clay and other materials or high-resolution, three-dimensional computer images. 

Pediatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents, and the age limit usually ranges from birth up to 18. A medical practitioner who specializes in this area is known as a pediatrician. 

An autopsy is a highly specialized surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present. It is usually performed by a specialized medical doctor called a pathologist or autopsy surgeon.


Who is your favorite fictional female doctor?
















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