Dorothy Case: A True Healthcare Professional

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Dott “Dorothy” Case was an extremely influential woman in the health care field. She became a doctor, instructor, associate professor, surgeon, and cheifship of surgery. She created her own private practice, became director of public health for the Philadelphia Federation of Women’s Clubs and allied organizations, and created the Dorothy Case-Blechschmidt Cancer Health Clinic of Doctor’s Hospital. In addition to all her accomplishments Dorothy was also a mother, and a wife. She is an exceptional example of the endless limits a woman can reach in the field of health professions.

Dorothy Case, later known as Dott, was born on April 9, 1885 to Marcus and Harriet Case in Ithaca, Michigan. Dorothy was the youngest of 9 children. Her mother was a teacher and realized her daughter’s ability for learning from a very young age. In 1889, Dorothy and her family moved to Loch Haven, Pennsylvania where upon their arrival they were struck with bad luck. On May 31, 1889, the Case family possessions arrived in Johnston, Pennsylvania, which was the same day that the South Fork Dam gave way.

The South Fork Dam collapsed and unleashed 20 million tons of water from its reservoir. A wall of water, reaching up to 70 feet high, swept 14 miles down the Little Conemaugh River Valley, carrying away steel mills, houses, livestock and people. At 4:07 p.m., the floodwaters rushed into the industrial city of Johnstown, crushing houses and downtown businesses in a whirlpool that lasted 10 minutes. (New York Times, 1889).

Everything the Case family owned was swept away with the raging water, and they were left with the little clothing and possessions they had on them. However, this hardship, the work that Dorothy and her family had to do to reestabli...

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...udents that she taught, that it was entirely possible to be a woman in the health field. She demonstrated to everyone around her, that women are able to be successful in health professions, and still maintain a healthy family life. Her work never stopped and she continued to advance in positions throughout her lifetime. Dorothy Case-Blechschmidt truly encompasses the meaning of a leader and role model to any woman who wants to enter a health profession field.

Works Cited

New York Times. (1889). May 31, 1889 Johnstown Flood by The New York Times. Retrieved July 1, 2011, from

Gabell, J. C. (1998, October). A Legacy of Dreams: Dorothy Case Blechschmidt, M.D., F.A.C.S. Notable Women Ancestors: The Journal of Women's Genealogy & History, 1(1). Retrieved from
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