Heart of a Lion, Hands of a Woman: What Women Neurosurgeons Do
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Monday, April 12, 2010

Loss Comes in Threes

When I was 12, my grandfather died just weeks after his wife and his sister.  During his funeral, all the "old people" (or so they seemed to me), talked about how death and bad luck always comes in threes.  Just a month ago, I wrote about two great losses to neurosurgery and now I must relate a third.  Dr. Joan Venes died this week from complications following surgery.  Dr. Venes was the third woman board certified in neurosurgery in the United States.  Her journey from first generation blue-collar America is the stuff of movies.  She was the first of her neighborhood to attend college-studying nursing.  She used her nursing career (experience and finances) to then launch her medical school studies and withstood may trials of fire before being admitting to the Yale neurosurgery training program. Her career was dedicated to pediatric neurosurgery-to which she made enormous contributions.
I only met Dr. Venes a few times and unfortunately, I can't say that I knew her well.  I had enormous respect for her accomplishments though it sometimes made me sad to think of all she had to sacrifice, being one of the FIRST! Those who followed her trail had it easier because of all she did.  There will be many tributes to this fine lady.  You can read more about her life  at SNS or at WINS. Rest in peace.
Dr. Joan Venes, 1935-2010

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