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California's first anesthesiologist

Mary Botsford: A Legacy of Mentorship

There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish” – Michelle Obama

One of the first photographs taken of Mary Botsford conducting anesthesia, shows her standing at the head of a patient’s bed, instructing another woman physician (both in long corseted dresses) in the delivery of anesthetics1. The faded black and white photograph is one of the only surviving images of Dr. Botsford’s most significant and largely unrecognized contribution to the field of anesthesia, and to the State of California--the mentorship and training of women anesthesiologists.
Botsford had many accomplishments throughout her life. She was the first to use divinyl ether, made advancements in pre-operative pain control, studied the use of oxygen with nitrous oxide, in addition to many academic appointments, research publications and war time service. However, her prolific training of anesthesiologists, at a time when the specialty was rapidly advancing and in need of skill…

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