Medicine’s Racist History - Diverse Health

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Medicine’s Racist History

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by Ester Choo

This spring, New York City removed a statue of James Marion Sims, the controversial “father of modern gynecology,” from Central Park. The decision was celebrated by those familiar with his legacy, including many physicians.

Sims’ innovations had unquestionable value. He introduced an early version of the vaginal speculum and new methods of performing gynecological exams. He is particularly known for developing a procedure for repairing vesicovaginal fistulas, a childbirth-related condition that creates erosion of tissue between the bladder and the vagina and leads to uncontrolled leakage of urine through the vagina. This procedure is still used today.

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