In 1853, after advanced study in Europe, Elizabeth Blackwell opened a small clinic in New York City to treat poor women, but she and other women were not allowed to work in hospitals.
In 1857 Elizabeth Blackwell and two other women doctors—her sister, Emily Blackwell, and Marie Zakrzewska—started the first American hospital run by women doctors, the New York Infirmary for Women and Children.
Similar hospitals run by women soon opened in Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago. One of the most famous early women surgeons was Mary Harris Thompson.
She founded the Chicago Hospital for Women and Children in 1865 and developed a surgical instrument that many doctors used in abdominal surgery.