A garden stroll with some "women surgeons"

By Eva Martin, MD of Elm Tree Medical, Inc.

Many of us experienced exasperation followed by delight in learning about Google’s Lady Day. At the Alphabet shareholder’s meeting, a shareholder started his line of questioning with, "My first question is to the lady CFO,” referring to executive powerhouse Ruth Porat. The legal chief David Drummond, however, warranted a name and was addressed as "Mr. Drummond." Googlers were not to be undone by this sexist remark and planned Lady Day. Last Thursday and Friday, male and female employees changed their signature lines to include a gender designation, for instance, “Lady Systems Engineer.” On the heels of this elegant protest, I had the opportunity to spend the morning in my garden, reading the latest edition of the Harvard Medicine magazine and its featured article on “woman surgeons.” Here, the combination of gender and surgeon was meant to be the opposite of sexist- to celebrate how far women have come in the field of surgery. The featured surgeons’ stories were inspiring, but the fact that we are still striving to show that women can become surgeons, despite their gender, shows just how far we have yet to go. I hope you’ll enjoy the following photographs of my morning read in the garden, and the opportunity to ponder when we will become “surgeons” and not “women surgeons.” Find the article here.

Dr. Kathryn Anderson served as the first female Surgeon in Chief of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the first female President of the American College of Surgeons. You can read more of her wisdom in her book Who Will Hold My Hand? She wrote the book for the parents of children who need surgery.

Dr. Christine Rohde is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery at Columbia University, who writes movingly about balance in her many roles: surgeon, wife, mother, and researcher.

Dr. Sheri Slezak is the Chair of Plastic Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center, whose easy writing style highlights changes in maternity policy negotiations as a resident, attending, and finally chair of the department.

Dr. Preeti John, a surgeon herself, recently published these stories and more in her book Being a Woman Surgeon. I’m also including one more photo vignette from another, unrelated article in the same issue of Harvard Magazine about plastic surgery, which featured a surgeon, who also happens to be female and inspirational. Dr. Barbara Smith pioneered the nipple-sparing mastectomy and is an Associate Professor of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Cheers to innovation and progress, and to the surgeons who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of better care of their patients!