Friday, November 5, 2010

The Slice and Dice Teenager

(taken from "Uppity Women of Medieval Times" by Vicki Leon)

In Florence Italy at the Florence hospital church of Santa Maria del Mereto, there is a plaque honoring a teenage girl who lived 700 years ago. What did she do that was so remarkable?
Her name was Alessandra Gilliani and she was a young girl from Bologna. A teenage prodigy, she got to study dissection at the side of the most famous doctor in Italy at the time, Mondino de Luzzi. At that time, around 1318, people were not sure of the difference between arteries and veins. Allesandra invented a technique to trace the different blood vessels in the body. Using a cadaver, she would draw blood from the veins and arteries and refill them with different colored dyes that solidified, allowing doctors to study and learn more about how the blood system works. The world lost a brilliant mind in such a young girl,when, unfortunately she died at the age of nineteen, never reaching her full potential.

My question for you today is - What is more remarkable - the fact that a teenage year old girl could come up with this technique or that a teenage girl would be allowed to not only be working along side of a doctor but to actually be advising a doctor in the 1300's?

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