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2022 Aug 01

Anesth Analg


2S Suppl 1

Women of the First Anesthesia Journal.


Calmes S H
Anesth Analg. 2022 Aug 01; 135(2S Suppl 1):S14-S17.
PMID: 35839828.


This special article briefly discusses the role of women as the new journal Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia (now Anesthesia & Analgesia [A&A]) began in 1922. It was a time of a few women physicians, and they were usually isolated from the world of mainstream medicine and its predominantly male practitioners The journal's founders, Frank McMechan and his wife Laurette of Cincinnati, were committed to developing an organization for everyone, and women physicians were welcomed early on. Three women physicians even served as the presidents of various anesthesia organizations early in the formation of the present national organization. This acceptance of women was to change as medical education and practice evolved to embrace scientific medicine, after the Flexner Report of 1910 documented the deficiencies of American medicine. Mrs McMechan made the most important contributions by a woman because she cared totally for Dr McMechan, after he experienced disabling and very severe arthritis. He became dependent on his wife for most activities, including the simple act of eating. He could not function without her; she kept him going physically for another 27 years after the onset of his very debilitating illness. After her husband's death in 1939, Mrs McMechan served an executive function, keeping the organization going and maintaining production of the journal. This article also briefly discusses the life of the first woman physician to publish an article in A&A, Frances Edith Haines, MD, of Chicago. Haines published several articles in the journal; the first was in 1922, in the second journal issue. She was the president of the Mid-Western Association of Anesthetists, an affiliated organization, in 1926. She also served in World War I as a contract physician anesthetist for the US Army; she was the first woman contract surgeon to go overseas, to Limoges, France. Her adventure-filled and bold life changed as she aged and developed financial problems. She tried, but failed, to get financial help from the government and the military for her war service, and she died in 1966. These women are examples of women physicians involved with the journal, as it began in 1922. As the number of women physicians has increased recently, some past problems, such as difficulty with getting admitted to medical schools, for example, have improved. However, there are still many issues for women in medicine, including in our specialty.