Dr. J. Marion Sims Monument | The SC State House

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This monument honors the founder of the science of gynecology, Dr. J. Marion Sims, a native of Lancaster, South Carolina.

After graduating from South Carolina Medical College, Sims began practicing medicine in Lancasterville, South Carolina. Shortly after, he moved to Montgomery, Alabama. There, he pioneered new surgical techniques for treating women and invented 71 instruments to aid in the process of childbirth. In 1853, he moved his practice to New York and established the Woman’s Hospital of the State of New York, one of the first hospitals in the country devoted solely to the care of women. Sims also established a cancer hospital in New York, which is known today as the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Leaving New York, Sims accepted a post as surgeon for the Empress Eugenie in France, where he amassed a considerable fortune. On his return to the United States after the Civil War had ended, Sims was greatly distressed by the conditions in his native South Carolina, and he donated large sums of money to help rebuild the state.

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It should be noted that Dr. Sims' practices have recently come into question.

In his article, "The Medical Ethics of the 'Father of Gynaecology', Dr J Marion Sims," published in the Journal of Medical Ethics 1993; 19: 28-31, the author, Durrenda Ojanuga, of the University of Alabama concludes:

"By the time of Dr J Marion Sims's death in 1883, he had established a world-wide reputation as a great surgeon and gynaecologist. Hospitals are named for him and statutes of Dr Sims can be seen in New York and South Carolina. Yet his fame and fortune were a result of unethical experimentation with powerless Black women." View the full article here