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PARSONS, KATE

PARSONS, KATE (11 June 1832-3 Sept. 1907) was the second woman physician in Cleveland and a co-founder of what became WOMAN'S GENERAL HOSPITAL.

Parsons was born in 1832 in Southampton, England, the child of John and Ann Parsons. She came to Cleveland with her family in 1849. After the death of her parents she began to study medicine. She was a student of Dr. MYRA MERRICK. In 1872 Parson graduated from the Cleveland Homeopathic College. She opened her practice in the city, on Prospect Ave., a year later. Her practice grew to be large and successful and included some of the city's wealthiest families.

In 1878, Parsons and Merrick set aside one morning a week from their regular practice to provide free medical service for needy woman and children. This evolved into the Women's and Children's Free Medical and Surgical Dispensary which was the first charitable institution of its kind established in Cleveland.

The dispensary was staffed by women physicians who were often denied clinical experience in the city's hospitals and dispensaries. Thus it was a pioneering center for the practice of medicine by women in Cleveland. The dispensary also allowed women to receive medical treatment from members of their own sex. In 1894 the dispensary was incorporated as the Women's and Children's Medical and Surgical Dispensary, of which Parsons later became treasurer. She continued to work with the Dispensary until November, 1906, when she retired due to failing health. She died in Cleveland and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY. The Dispensary evolved into Woman's General Hospital.