LUCY HOBBS TAYLOR
If we ignore them and downplay their efforts they will be forced to
abandon the idea of being part of medicine.
—Doctor A. E. Regensburger, in his address to the
California State Medical Society, regarding women
as doctors and dentists, 1875
Frantic pounding on the front door of Nellie Pooler Chapman's home forced the petite woman out of a deep sleep, off of her bed, and onto her feet. She quickly lit a nearby candle, threw on her robe, and hurried to answer the desperate person knocking and calling out for help.
As soon as Nellie opened the door, a scruffy miner pushed his way inside. His left hand was holding his left cheek and tears were streaming down his face. “I've got to see the doc,” he pleaded. Nellie left the door standing open as she brushed her mussed hair from her face. “The doctor isn't here,” she informed the man. “He's in Nevada looking for silver.” The miner groaned in pain and cried even harder. 'You've got to help me,” he insisted. “I've got a bad tooth and it's killing me.” Nellie stared back wide-eyed at the suffering man. “I'm not a dentist,” she told him. “I don't know how to remove a bad tooth.”
The man drew in a quick breath and winced. He was in agony.