The use of Black men and women for all manner of experiments and medical exploitations is one practice that gave birth to many discoveries in modern medicine.
White doctors and scientists used black people as guinea pigs for inhumane experiments, all over European and America, during the times of slavery, and the years that would follow.
A controversial figure, James Marions Sim, was particularly known for using enslaved African women for his ungodly experiments. He was known to carry out surgery on his victims without anesthesia. His defense was that the forceful cutting up of black women was not painful enough to warrant the use of any type of anesthesia.
James opened the first ever female hospital, in 1855, in New York City. He is known for his discovery of a treatment for vesicovaginal fistula.
In his defense of his cruel methods of surgery, James said that “black people did not feel as much pain as white people”, and so did not need to be under anesthesia during surgery. As a result of this retarded and racist reasoning, many African women died at his hands.
James, who in today’s standards is obviously a murderer, was not tried or stopped, instead the institutions of white-supremacy encouraged him, and also named him “the father of modern gynecology”.
It is reported that James operated on 12 enslaved African women between 1845 and 1849, in his hospital. But in reality, it was more than that, as many of them died during his inhumane experiments.
Out of dubiousness, or other reasons best known to him, he only mentioned three women in his records. They were Anarcha, Betsy and Lucy, with Anarcha being his very first victim.
Anarcha was purchased and enslaved as a young girl by the owners of the Wescott plantation. There she was enslaved with 75 other women, and was given the surname Wescott.
Anarcha was impregnated at the age of 17. She was due to deliver in the June of 1849, but spent 3 days in labor. She was unable to deliver because she had rickets which disfigured her pelvis.
“Rickets is the softening and weakening of bones in children, usually because of an extreme and prolonged vitamin D deficiency. Rare inherited problems also can cause rickets. Vitamin D helps your child’s body absorb calcium and phosphorus from food.”
News of Anarcha’s case reached Dr. James, and he jumped on the opportunity to experiment on her. He took her in, and in the coming hours, performed series experimental operations on her. And these were done without any form of anesthesia. This is a woman who has been in labor for three days – just imagine that!
After the first 4 operations, Anarcha was able to deliver her child.
The nature of the operations and cuts that Dr James conducted on her, caused her to return for further operations, which were meant to repair the unhealed tears in her vagina and rectum, which were as a result of severe bleeding and pain.
To correct her bleeding and pain, Dr. James put her through another 30 surgeries. These surgeries were also carried out on other enslaved African women. Two of them who stood out, were Betsy and Lucy.
It is important to note that these women almost died from these surgeries, as accepted by Dr. James in his journal. And it was for these same surgeries, that he earned the title “Father of Gynecology”.
The history of his dangerous surgeries and experiments on African women would continue, after this, but nothing is written or known of Anarcha, after her surgeries.
It is however worrisome, that a careless doctor with such disregard for human life, fine-tuned with a racists disposition, was honored by the white society, and extolled with great titles and accolades.
They simply didn’t care that he used African women as lab rats. To them, the enslaved Africans were just mere property, and were dispensable.
White America would go on to erect statues in remembrance of Dr. James. But as the years went by, history was visited by later generations, and his legacy and title what brought into questioning.
In 2018, after a long-standing demand, his statue which stood in New York City was pulled down and removed, in honor of the women he exploited and used for his unholy experiments. Today, Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy are considered the mothers of Gynecology.
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