Eminent Women of the Age: Being Narratives of the Lives and Deeds of the Most Prominent Women of the Present Generation

By James Parton ; Horace Greeley et al. | Go to book overview

WOMAN AS PHYSICIAN.

BY REV. H. B. ELLIOT.

THE care of the sick has from earliest ages devolved on woman. A group by one of our sculptors, representing Eve with the body of Abel stretched upon her lap, bending over it in bewildered grief, and striving to cherish or restore the vital spirit which she can hardly believe to have departed, is a type of the province of the sex ever since pain and death entered the world. To be first the vehicle for human life, and then its devoted guardian, to remove or alleviate the physical evils which afflict the race, or to patiently watch their wasting course, and tenderly care for all that remains when they have wrought their result, -- this is her divinely appointed and universally conceded mission. Were she to refuse it, to forsake her station beside the suffering, the office of medicine and the efforts of the physician would be more than half baffled. And yet, where her post is avowedly so important, she has generally been denied the liberty of understanding much that is involved in its intelligent occupancy. With the human body so largely in her charge from birth to death, she has not been allowed to inquire into its marvellous mechanism. With the administering of remedies entrusted to her vigilance and faithfulness, she has not been allowed to investigate the qualities, or to know even the names of the substances committed to her use, or to ascertain the methods

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