A Historic Mother Daughter Medicine Duo

Women in Medicine
Jessie Thomas Rutt, M.D.
Women in Medicine
Matilda Minnis Thomas, M.D.

Matilda Minnis Thomas

At the turn of the 20th Century, it was rare for women to hold positions in medicine, or really any profession at all. Matilda started out her life doing what most women of the time were doing. She married her husband and they both moved to the small town of Macon Mississippi. While living in Macon, Matilda’s husband secured a job as a civil engineer while Matilda worked as a first grade teacher at the local school. The young couple occupied a house next to the towns physician, which sparked their interest in medicine. 

After several years working their jobs in small town Macon, Matilda gave birth to a little girl named Jessie, who would follow in her mothers footsteps.  Matilda and her husband both applied to and were accepted to the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Chicago, IL. While in college, Jessie was sent to live with extended relatives in England. In 1904, when the Thomas’s completed medical school in Chicago, they went to England to reunite with their daughter Jessie. While living in Europe, the Thomas’s went to school in Geneva to specialize as Ear Nose and Throat physicians. They started a family practice in Seattle Washington and served the population there until 1908 when Matilda succumbed to influenza. 

Woman Doctor
Matilda Thomas with her Husband

Jessie Thomas Rutt

At the start of the women’s rights movement, a young woman named Jessie Thomas Rutt, daughter of Matilda Thomas, entered into medical school. Jessie attended Smith College to complete her undergraduate coursework. After graduating from Smith College, Jessie was accepted to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in Philadelphia. Once receiving her medical degree, she spent her intern year at the Methodist Hospital of Philadelphia then transferred to the Children’s Hospital of San Francisco to compete a residency in Pediatric Surgery. While in San Francisco, Jessie met her husband who was a recent graduate of the United States Naval Academy. 

Mothers in Medicine
Jessie Rutt with her family

After meeting her husband, Jessie set aside her stethoscope and scalpel to be a dedicated Navy wife. She raised two daughters while traveling to the various adventurous places the Navy would take them. Jessie’s husband passed away in 1948, which lead Dr. Rutt to renter the world of medicine. Jessie decided to return to residency and go to Los Angeles County General Hospital to become an Anesthesiologist, which at the time was a new field of study. She spent her career as an Anesthesiologist at Coronado Hospital in Coronado California until she retired in her early 70’s. 

Inspiring Mothers and Women in Medicine

Matilda and her daughter Jessie never let gender or gender roles hold them back. Matilda showed her daughter Jessie that becoming a physician is possible. and Jessie used that inspiration to not only become a physician but have a prosperous career in an emerging medical subject. There inspiration continues through the generations having granddaughters , great granddaughters, and great great granddaughters that have entered the world of medicine becoming nurses and doctors alike. Lets not forget that while pushing the boundaries of gender roles and medicine, they both raised wonderful and inspired families. 

Lewis Mandichak
Co-Founder/ CEO
[email protected]

Thank you to Virginia Johnson, decedent of these wonderful women, for providing this inspiring story and pictures. 

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Quiz Your HIPAA Knowledge!

Which of the following is not a section of HIPAA:
True or False: Practices are shielded from liability if a vendor or contractor breaches HIPAA.
True or False: Practices will not be charged a fine if they were unaware of risks that caused a breach.
On average, a HIPAA violation fine is:
___% of healthcare organizations have experienced at least one data breach in the last 12 months.
If a data breach occurs involving more than 500 individuals, how long does a practice have to report it?
Which of the following documents are required per HIPAA?
How long must a practice keep HIPAA-related documents?
Which of the following is not a common cause of a HIPAA violation:
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