Matilda A. Evans, M.D.
Matilda A. Evans, noted physician, surgeon and humanitarian, was the first female doctor in Columbia, South Carolina. In addition to establishing a successful practice, she founded two hospitals and three clinics in Columbia where 1,500 school children received free medical examinations and treatment. Dr. Evans believed it was the public's responsibility to establish free clinics just as public funds supported education.
Evans attended Oberlin College in Ohio, then enrolled in the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania from which she earned a medical degree in 1897. She returned to South Carolina to practice medicine in the fields of surgery, gynecology, and obstetrics. Dr. Evans opened her medical practice in Columbia, which, at that time, offered no hospital facilities for African Americans. She also was responsible for buying and equipping The Dr. Evans Park and Swimming Pool for the public.
Evans took patients into her own home until she could establish a hospital for them. In 1901, she established the Taylor Lane Hospital, which was both a hospital and a training school for nurses. The hospital building was later destroyed by fire. Undaunted, she started another hospital before moving to a larger facility, which was named the St. Luke's Hospital and Training School for Nurses. In 1918, she became a registered volunteer in the Medical Service Corps of the United States Army.
Evans found the time to raise 11 children who needed a home. In addition to becoming a mother to some of the children who were left at her practice, she brought up five children from relatives who had died.
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