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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 respective residencies.

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, " 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. Dawson. "

--Review from Open Hand Publishing


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Uploaded Nov 2004, Updated Jan 2005