James (Miranda) Barry

James (Miranda) Barry known as the first qualified female British doctor or surgeon?

In 1810, when James (Miranda ) Barry entered the University, it was a male only establishment and so deception was the only option for a woman hoping to pursue a medical career. James Barry lived adult life as a man, but was born Margaret Ann Bulkley, but chose to live as a man to be accepted as a university student and be able to pursue a career as a surgeon.

After only 2 years of study, and probably at no more than 17 years of age, Barry graduated and became known as  the first qualified female British doctor or surgeon.

Dr James (Miranda) Barry
Dr James (Miranda) Barry

Initially Barry worked at St Thomas' Hospital, London, before joining the Army as a medical officer. Barry  was sent to South Africa a year later and gained a reputation as a first-class surgeon. It was in South Africa that Barry carried out the first successful caesarean section in 1826.

Barry lived as a man in both public and private life, with Barry's birth sex only becoming known to the public and to military colleagues after death.

There is a lot of debate around whether Barry identified as a man or adopted the personna to succeed in a man's world?

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