Emails telling us Karsh stories are always welcome, and we recently heard from a one-time medical student at Johns Hopkins. The gentleman said he happened to be present the day the portrait of Dr. Taussig was taken, and shared his memories. He also shared an article by Lisa S. Rotenstein, M.D., M.B.A., and Anupam B. Jena, M.D., Ph.D. that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “Lost Taussigs: The Consequences of Gender Discrimination in Medicine” is about gender-based harassment and discrimination in the medical industry.
“Medicine has not been immune to the problems of gender-based harassment and discrimination that have surfaced in other industries, despite efforts in recent decades to increase the field’s diversity and inclusiveness. Aside from the obvious moral issues associated with mistreatment of and job discrimination against women physicians, we believe that greater focus is needed on the potential consequences for patients and biomedical science of the loss of talent and worse outcomes that result when women in medicine are slighted, overlooked, or explicitly wronged.
“In the 1940s, Dr. Helen Taussig developed the Blalock–Taussig shunt for congenital cyanotic heart disease, creating a life-extending solution for a condition previously thought to be untreatable. Widely considered the founder of pediatric cardiology and a devoted clinician, she won both the Lasker Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Since that time, how many Helen Taussigs have we lost to discrimination, harassment, and marginalization? And how many more will we lose if things don’t change?”