Pioneer of ophthalmology

The Cuban Illustration, Barcelona, ​​September 1885.

Although today it is a profession practiced by both sexes, in Cuba, the practice of medicine was reserved for men until 1883, when Laura Martínez de Carvajal y del Camino She enrolled in the course and went down in history as the first Medicine graduate in the country.

José Antonio López Espinosa, a graduate in Scientific-Technical Information and Biotechnology and associate researcher of the Medical Humanities Section of the Virtual Health University of Cuba, stressed that it is also merit of Carvajal to be the first Cuban ophthalmologist.

She affirmed that the surgeon had a wide and distinguished private clientele, work that she carried out in parallel to the one she carried out at the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes hospital, directed by her husband, the eminent ophthalmologist Enrique López Veitía, an institution of the highest level of its time.

Besides, the extraordinary woman collaborated in the preparation of clinical ophthalmologyfamous work written by her husband and spread in three editions in 1891, 1895 and 1906, and in many of the 100 works he published on the discipline.

Born in Havana on August 27, 1869, she entered the center for higher studies at the age of 14. He completed a degree in Physical-Mathematical Sciences simultaneously with a degree in Medicine and Surgery, which is why his student output reflects, in detail, the incidences of the first career, which he studied between 1883 and 1888, and immediately those of the second, which extended one more year.

According to the document, Of the 19 subjects studied as part of her first specialty, she was evaluated with an outstanding grade in 17 and with a notable grade in two. Of the 24 that she had to overcome to become a doctor, she also obtained 17 outstanding, seven notable and one good. In addition to these qualifications, he reached the maximum note in his two degree exercises, presented on June 30, 1888 and June 22, 1889.

Gregorio Delgado, doctor in Historical Sciences and specialist in the history of Cuban medicine at the Library of the National Center for Medical Sciences Information (Infomed), recounted the efforts of the student to graduate.

“The prejudices of the time made the university authorities strongly oppose the development of the student. She outshone many of her classmates. That is why measures were taken to make her desist from her efforts.”

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