The First Female Doctor in Britain Spent 56 Years Disguised as a Man

Barry became the first doctor in the British Empire to perform a successful cesarean operation. It was one of many major medical contributions the Irish surgeon accomplished for the British military, from enforcing stricter standards for hygiene, improving the diet of sick patients, to popularizing a plant-based treatment for syphilis and gonorrhea. Barry served around the globe, eventually earning the title of Inspector General, the second most senior medical position in the British Army.

But despite these achievements, Barry’s reputation was kept a secret for nearly a hundred years. The military locked away the doctor’s records after finding out Britain’s Inspector General was born a woman.


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