The Government General Hospital, one of the premier Institutions in the country was started on 16th November 1664 as a small Hospital to treat the sick soldiers of the East India Company. It was the untiring inspired efforts of Sir Edward Winter who was the agent of the company that materialised in the first British Hospital at Madras.
In its early days the Hospital was housed at the Fort St. George and in the next 25 years grew into a formal medical facility. Governor Sir. Elihy Yale was instrumental in the development of the Hospital and gave it a new premises with in the Fort in 1690.
The Hospital moved out of the Fort after the Anglo French War and it took 20 long years before it could settle in the present permanent place in 1772. By the year 1772 the Hospital was training Europeans, Eurasians and natives in allopathic methods of diagnosis and treatment and methods of preparing medicines. These trained personnel's were posted to various dispensaries in the district head quarters of the then Madras Presidency to assist the qualified doctors. By 1820 the institution had the recognition as the model hospital of the East India Company. So in 1827 Dr. D.Mortimar was appointed as the Superintendent of the Hospital.
The College began admitting women students is a path breaking step when Europe was still debating the issue and only one institution in the US had admitted a women a year or two earlier.
Mary Ann Dacomb Scharlieb an English women whose husband was practicing law in Madras, Whom she helped in editors a law journal decided Indian women needed doctors more than legal assistance.
At the age of 30 she was admitted in MMC. She faced Stiff resistance. Professor Bran foot of women & Children hospital said, “I cannot prevent you walping round the wards but I will not teach you”. But the situation improved when three other Anglo Indian girls – Misses White, Beale and Mitchell joined. The four passed LMS in 1878 White topping the class with Scarlieb coming second.
After practicing for a few years in Madras Scharleib was determined to Quality further. She went to England and graduated from Royal London School of Medicine as its first women doctor.
She was awarded the Gold Medal for obstetrics and utilised the Scholarship to study operative midwifery with the famed Viennese surgeon politzer.
She returned to Madras and established the Royal Victoria Hospital for Caste and Gosha Women, which is now Govt. Kasturibai Gandhi Hospital. A plaque commemorating her as the 1st superintendent is still there.
Not satisfied she went back to London and graduated as the first women M.D. of London University in 1888. She returned to India to establish the Women’s Medical Services. In 1926 she was ‘knighted’ and became Dame Mary Scharlieb the first women doctor in Britain to be so honored.
The first Indian Women to join MMC was Krupabai (Krubai) Sathianathan. She topped the 1st year but ill health forced her out. But later she turned out to be a renowned writer. In her name exists an endowment for a scholarship for a native Indian but not of European or Eurasian decent. More women joined in 1884. Abala Das, Rose Govindarajulu and Gurdial Sing were the first Indian Women to receive LMS in 1888.
Muthulakshmi Reddy became the first Indian Woman (Mrs.A.M. Vangngen a burgher from Ceylon was the first Women) to get a Medical degree from University of Madras in 1912. She went on to establish the cancer institute of Adyar.
The institution holds the pride of place in having produced the first lady Doctor in the English speaking World and also the first Indian lady Doctor to graduate from this School.
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