They did not realize that they had made history until the surgery was completed. They took a photograph to celebrate.
Women are accomplishing things that the world could never have imagined before. They are proving their excellence in traditionally male-dominated fields, proving that they are more than competent when given the chance. In early December last year, an all-woman team at a California hospital made history by completing a heart transplant on a female patient, per Good Morning America.
At @UCSF an all-women team completed a heart transplant, likely the first time this has happened. "For anyone to look at us and say, 'There's no barriers and I can do this,' that's really what makes it worth it,” said Dr. Amy Fiedler, the team’s surgeon.https://t.co/KrMDBVAj84 pic.twitter.com/S1kIO9ESeT— Lean In (@LeanInOrg) February 18, 2023
Dr. Amy Fiedler, an attending cardiac surgeon and assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco, headed the team, which included six additional healthcare experts. Those present were: Dr. Laura Scrimgeour, a cardiothoracic surgery fellow; Dr. Charlene Blake, an attending cardiothoracic anesthesiologist and associate professor; Dr. Jacqueline Measer, an anesthesia resident; Ashley Risso, a perfusionist; Ruiza Coronel, a registered nurse; and another traveling nurse who is not currently working at UCSF. Fiedler claimed she didn't know how uncommon the procedure was until they were finished.
She said, "We did the surgery, just the same as we always do, and as we were finishing up, closing the final layers of the incision, I looked up because that's the time when we're all chatting and listening to music and decompressing after the case goes well, and I said to Dr. Blake, 'Wow, we're all women here.'" Blake, who has worked at UCSF for over eight years and holds a doctorate in genetics and genomics, likewise expressed amazement at the revelation. She said, "I've only seen one other heart surgeon in all my years of training and in being an attending and so, this coming together with [Fiedler] and with [Scrimgeour] and with everyone here, it was remarkable."
"Dr. Fiedler is making history by being the first female cardiac surgeon at UCSF," Blake continued, speaking of the group and what it means to make history, "I'm making history by being the first Black cardiac anesthesiologist at UCSF. And so for all of us to come together, we made history, but we make history by living our best lives every single day. It's incredible." Blake ended up taking a quick photograph with the team gathering around their patient, Fatou Gaye to commemorate this moment. Fiedler believes that their story may inspire other women to pursue their aspirations, despite the fact that it originally seemed like a routine day at work for all of them.
Fiedler said, "It is just so profound to think how us coming to work and doing our jobs has the ability and the reach to inspire so many people across the country, in the world, to live what they want to do, live out their dreams and recognize that anything is possible." Scrimgeour, who is in her second year of a three-year cardiothoracic fellowship, hopes that other women will follow in her footsteps. She said, "Anyone can do this and it's becoming more and more possible. Everyone can come do this job, and I think that's really fun. So I hope that's the message that everyone gets, is everyone's welcome here, everyone should do this because it's a really fantastic job."
Blake also expressed her desire for women to feel strong and free of limits. She added, "It's kind of like, 'Yeah, this is our time,' and we can blaze trails so that the next generation can come in and it won't be as tough for them as it was for us. Glass ceilings, better watch out."