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History of Medicine |

Augusta Dejerine-Klumpke: First Woman Intern in Paris Hospitals

RICHARD SATRAN, M.D., F.A.C.P.
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Presented in part 14 May 1971 at the George W. Corner History of Medicine Society Meeting, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Richard Satran, M.D., Department of Neurology, Strong Memorial Hospital, 260 Crittenden Blvd., Rochester, NY 14642.


Rochester, New York


Ann Intern Med. 1974;80(2):260-264. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-80-2-260
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Few physicians are aware that Klumpke palsy or lower brachial plexus palsy was named by a woman. Augusta Klumpke—born in San Francisco, educated in Europe, and later married to the French neurologist, Dejerine—was the first to describe and elucidate mechanisms of lower brachial plexus palsy. The work was accomplished when she was a medical student at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris. She experienced difficulties in gaining entrance to medical school, and later she struggled successfully to secure an externship and, ultimately, the first woman's internship in the hospitals of Paris. Her appointment was owing to female medical student activism, the responsivity of the Republican government that followed the Franco Prussian War, and her successful completion of the difficult written and public-oral examinations. Her achievement led to new opportunities for women in what had been a traditionally restrictive medical system.

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