Meet The First Black Female Transplant Surgeon in USA – Dr. Scantlebury
Dr. Scantlebury is the first African American female transplant surgeon of the United States.
She has received many honors in her career having been named to both the “Best Doctors in America” and “Top Doctors in America” lists multiple times.
Scantlebury has been awarded the Woman of Spirit Award for inspiring others and the “Gift of Life Award” from the National Kidney Foundation.
She has performed over 2,000 transplants and published many peer-reviewed papers.
“I was told that my hands were too small and I was the wrong color. Small hands can be better than big hands in surgery, especially when you’re working on kids.” And Scantlebury was stubborn!
Scantlebury told the American Medical Student Association that the most difficult part of her training was her “inability to be accepted as an equal as a woman in surgery…we still have to prove that we are just as good and even better than the typical male surgeon.”
Scantlebury said that some patients still asked her for their “real” doctor or assumed that she was a nurse and asked her to change their bedpan. “I remember one patient in Pittsburgh who didn’t want to be transplanted by me,” “And I said, ‘I’m okay with that.’ I got to the point where I saw it as their loss, not mine, just ignorance on their part.”
“I think there are certain doors that are not as open when you’re female. The only way things are going to change is if we have more numbers. With greater numbers, hopefully, there’ll be greater opportunity.” – Dr. Velma Patricia Scantlebury (October 6, 1955)