GOOGLE has dedicated their daily Doodle to surgeon Louisa Aldrich-Blake, who was born on this day in 1865, but who was Louisa Aldrich-Blake?
Dame Louisa Aldrich-Blake is the subject of today’s Google Doodle, celebrating her birth on this day 154 years ago. The Doodle features a cartoon image of Ms Aldrich-Blake, dressed in a surgeon’s outfit, with medical tools behind her. But who was Louisa Aldrich-Blake?
Dr Aldrich-Blake was the first British woman to enter the world of medicine, having graduated from the Royal Free Hospital in 1893.
She went on to gain a Master of Surgery and by 1910 was a lead surgeon.
A pioneer for women in medicine, Ms Aldrich-Blake was the first woman to hold the post of a surgical registrar in 1895.
Committed to her field, she volunteered for military medical service during the First World War.
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During the war, as many of the male surgeons were deployed on foreign active service, Dr Aldrich-Blake became more responsible for surgery and became the consulting surgeon to the Royal Free Hospital.
Dr Aldrich-Blake was also one of the first people to perform surgery on rectal and cervical cancers.
In fact, she led British surgeons in undertaking the Wertheim operation for carcinoma of the cervix.
Born in Chingford, Essex, Ms Aldrich-Blake’s parents were Reverend Frederick James Aldrich-Blake and Louisa Blake Morrison.
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She spent her childhood in Welsh Bicknor and had a home in the town until her death in 1925.
In the year of her death, Ms Aldrich-Blake was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire on the New Year’s Honours List.
There is a statue of her in Tavistock Square in London, and The Dame Louisa Brandreth Aldrich-Blake Collection can be found in the Royal Free Hospital’s Archive Centre.
Her accomplishments, particularly during World War 1 were recognised in a 2015 exhibit.
Ms Aldrich-Blake paved the way for women in medicine, having influenced the War Office to allow women to enlist to be a part of the medical staff.
She was also dedicated to training students, at her alma mater, the London School of Medicine for Women – now the medical school of University College London – becoming Vice-Dean in 1906 and Dean of the School in 1914.
She died at home, on December 28, 1925, from cancer, after undergoing several operations during her final weeks.
A ceremony in St. Pancras Church in London on New Year’s Day 1926 was dedicated to her life, and then her ashes were taken to Welsh Bicknor.