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James Barry
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Doctor
    (circa 1792-July 25, 1865)
    Born in Ireland
    Birth name probably was Margaret Ann Bulkley
    Surgeon with the British army
    Served in India, South Africa, Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Helena, Malta, Jamaica and Canada
    Named Inspector-General of Hospitals (1857)
    She lived her entire adult life as a man.
    She came close to being court-martialed on several occasions for rudeness to her superiors and once for going AWOL.
    During the Crimean War, she clashed with Florence Nightingale who called her 'the most hardened creature I ever met in the army.'
    She fought duels with people who commented on her high voice and feminine features.
    She was a vegetarian.
    Sophia Bishop, the maid who discovered Barry's gender while preparing her body for burial, went to the papers when her demands for a payoff were ignored.
    The British Army sealed her records for a hundred years.
    Members of her family and their friends aided her subterfuge to get her into medical school.
    She was the first British woman to qualify as a surgeon.
    She was the first British surgeon to perform a successful caesarean section.
    Despite her rudeness to her superiors, she had a good bedside manner.
    She improved hospital conditions and sanitation at her postings.
    The army forced her into retirement only months before she would have qualified for a full pension.

Credit: C. Fishel


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