1. Geddes JR. Deeds and words in the suffrage
military hospital in Endell Street. Med Hist.
2007; 51( 1):79-98.
2. Anderson KD. Olga M. Jonasson, MD, Lecture:
The quiet pioneer who started a revolution:
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. Bull Am Coll Surg.
2018;103( 2): 22-29.
3. National Archives. London University: London
School of Economics, the Women’s Library.
Papers of Louisa Garrett Anderson. Available
Accessed January 15, 2019.
4. Woman and her sphere. Women and the first
World War: The work of women doctors.
Available at: https://womanandhersphere.
January 10, 2019.
traditional military hospitals. While mastering the surgical tasks previously restricted to men, they also addressed
patients’ emotional and psychological needs. They furnished the rooms with mattresses softer than those issued
by the military, houseplants, and table lamps—simple ame-nities that were a welcome relief from the filth of life in
the trenches. Musical performances entertained the soldiers, who were provided scheduled leisure activities, such
as sewing and embroidery. Soldiers who were hesitant to
be treated by “lady doctors” came to prefer the care they
received at Endell Street. Those troops who had requested
to be transferred to traditional facilities run by men often
refused to leave Endell Street when their requests came
After the War
When ESMH closed its doors in October 1919, it was the
longest-running temporary military hospital of the war and
the only one organized and staffed entirely by women. 4 The
building no longer exists, but the work accomplished within
its walls has had a lasting impact. By providing exceptional
care to wounded soldiers and meeting administrative challenges brought on by wartime scarcity, Drs. Anderson and
Murray demonstrated that woman physicians were equal
to their male counterparts. They broke the longstanding
taboo of only men caring for men. They proved themselves the administrative and professional equivalent of
The WHC and its Scottish counterpart, the Scottish
Women’s Hospitals, emerged from the war with favorable
public support. Although the British medical establishment would continue to yield its influence grudgingly,
Dr. Anderson, Dr. Murray, and their colleagues set the
stage for gender integration in medical schools, training
programs, and all aspects of care—including the most
gender-restricted field, military surgery, a specialty that
only recently has started to yield. ♦
To Drs. Anderson and Murray, “better” meant following a different
model of care than the one used at traditional military hospitals.
While mastering the surgical tasks previously restricted to men,
they also addressed patients’ emotional and psychological needs.