Forged by the Knife: The Experience of Surgical Residency from the Perspective
of a Woman of Color
This book is the story of author, Dr. Patricia L. Dawson, and six other
Black women surgeons who underwent individual experiences as minority
women in predominantly male medical residencies.
For any female who has sought medical consultation or aid, and has questioned
the overwhelming absence of female doctors and surgeons in most specialties,
it is a necessary read.
In "Forged by the Knife", Dr. Dawson addresses many issues
dealing with how feminine nature conflicts with the appearance of the
ideal surgeon, and the coping mechanisms developed by these doctors in
order to fit the more masculine mold of empathy and efficiency. These
seven women share their experiences of being discouraged in all aspects
of their lives, from starting a family and getting pregnant to how wearing
jewelry and make-up affect how others perceived them. They also share
the ways they attempted to gain respect compared to other women in their
M. Jocelyn Elders, M.D., former Surgeon General of the United States,
says of the book, "This is an insightful look into the making of
Black female surgeons and the long, rigorous hours of surgical residency.
The reader can feel the pain, isolation, and loneliness of being excluded
while still having to bear the responsibility of making life-and death
decisions, with someone watching over your shoulder."
Dr. Dawson is now a breast surgeon at a private practice in Seattle,
WA, and she received her medical degree from New Jersey Medical School
in Newark. This book was written as her doctoral thesis, but as Alvin
J. Thompson, M.D. says in his review of the book, "...it is more.
It is a cathartic exposition of the experiences of 6 Black female surgeons.
We are privileged to be voyeurs in their group therapy, conducted by Dr.
--Review from Open Hand Publishing
Forged by the Knife (at Amazon.com)