Pioneering woman surgeon
Dr Louisa Martindale (1872-1966)
Female surgeon, pioneer of radium therapy and feminist/suffragist Louisa Martindale was the elder sister of Hilda Martindale, and like her, was educated at Royal Holloway College before entering the London School of Medicine in 1893. Martindale championed women in the medical profession at home and overseas and worked to open women’s hospitals throughout her life. She performed more than 7,000 surgeries, specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology, and was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians in 1933.
Martindale was also a pioneer of radium treatment for cervical and ovarian cancer in Britain, treating 300 women suffering from the latter. Martindale was also a suffragist and was friends with Millicent Fawcett who encouraged her to write her most controversial book Under the Surface (1909). This tome caused a stir in the House of Commons due to Martindale’s focus on the links between prostitution and venereal disease.