Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Carolyn Purcell, May 8, 2018

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Transcript
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Index
Search this Index
X
00:00:00 - Her childhood background

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Hi, I'm Karen Clancy.

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses what her childhood was like and how she grew up. She also talks about when she realized she wanted to be a doctor and how she tried to prepare for that during high school, but the school she attended had limited math and science classes.

Keywords: Biology teachers; Chores; Classes; Colleges; Competitive; Faith; Football coaches; Gardens; Healers; High schools; Influential; Learning; Mathematics; Optometrists; Organic food; Parents; Poverty; Public high schools; Science; Supportive; Tenant farmers; Welders

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Families.; Religion

00:04:24 - Her undergraduate studies / The interview process for medical school

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And then, in college, I was a, uh, chemistry major.

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses the classes that she took during her undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky, as well as the scholarships she received to go to both undergraduate and medical school for free. She also talks about the interviews she had at both the University of Kentucky and Vanderbilt University for acceptance into medical school.

Keywords: Academic medicine; Biology; Botany; Chemistry; Dr. Jackie Noonan; Dr. John Yarbrough; Financial aid; History; Husbands; Impressions; Interview process; Interviews; Leukemia; Loans; Medical schools; Memorable; Money; New York Life Insurance Scholarship; Physical sciences; Physiology professors; Pleasant; Scholarships; University of Kentucky; Vanderbilt University

Subjects: Education; Education, Higher; Families.; University of Kentucky. College of Medicine

00:12:54 - Her medical school years

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Okay, so what do you remember about that first year?

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses her years in medical school. She talks about her first two years in the classroom, her third year doing clinical clerkships, and her fourth year doing acting internships. She figured out what she wanted to do as a career in her fourth year working with Dr. Louise Caudill in Morehead, Kentucky and then supplemented that experience with other internships.

Keywords: Basic sciences; Cadavers; Clerkships; Clinical years; Community medicine; Diseases; Dr. Jackie Noonan; Dr. Louise Caudill; Encouragement; Endocrinology; Epidemiology; Foolish; General practice; Grades; Internal medicine; Internships; Lectures; Medical students; Mental illness; Neonatology; Obstetrics; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Pathology; Patients; Pediatric cardiology; Pediatrics; Psychiatry; Rotations; Specialties; Studying; Surgery

Subjects: Careers; Education; Education, Higher; Medical education; Medicine.; Physicians--Kentucky; University of Kentucky. College of Medicine; Women in medicine; Women physicians.

00:23:35 - Residency--Part I

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Were there many women in OB-GYN?

Segment Synopsis: Purcell briefly discusses her residency and how she was only the second woman to finish an OB-GYN residency at the University of Kentucky.

Keywords: Babies; Challenging; Dr. John Greene; Exhausting; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Residency

Subjects: Medicine.; University of Kentucky. Medical Center; Women in medicine; Women physicians.

00:25:10 - Women in her medical school class

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Let me jump back just for a minute to, to med school.

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses the women in her medical school class at the University of Kentucky. She also talks about an article in the Courier-Journal which featured a picture of her in histology class, and her attitudes toward the importance of sleep.

Keywords: Anesthesiologists; Attitudes; Clinical years; Dr. Christina Surawicz; Dr. Evie Davis Spires Arnold; Dr. Helen Westman; Dr. Nancy Helton; Dr. Vivian Bland; Fascinating; General surgeons; General surgery; Grand rounds; Histology; Honors programs; Influence; Internal medicine; Introverts; Medical schools; Microscopes; Nurses; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Picture; Residency; Rest; Roommates; Sleep; Sleep deprivation; Tests; The Courier-Journal; Tom Ferguson; University of Cincinnati

Subjects: Education, Higher; Medical education; University of Kentucky. College of Medicine; Women in medicine; Women physicians.

00:36:05 - Her internship year

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, did you do your internship also at UK?

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses her internship at the University of Kentucky and how she did an extra year of OB-GYN training by doing a rotating internship.

Keywords: Clerkships; Dr. Louise Caudill; Emergency rooms; Internal medicine; Internships; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Pediatrics; Residency; Rotating internships; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Medical education; University of Kentucky. College of Medicine; University of Kentucky. Medical Center; Women in medicine; Women physicians.

00:38:36 - Residency--Part II

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, what are some of your favorite memories from your residency?

Segment Synopsis: Purcell further discusses her residency at the University of Kentucky and relays some memories of her residency that stand out to her. She also talks about wanting to go back to medical school during her retirement to see how it contrasts with her previous medical school experience.

Keywords: Blood tests; Cesarean sections; Colleagues; Consults; Dr. Robert Shire; Ectopic pregnancies; Faculty; Friends; Genetics; Gynecology; Immunology; Mendelian genetics; Mentors; Miscarriages; Mothers; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Praise; Residency; Residents; Significance; Supportive

Subjects: Education, Higher; Medical education; Medicine.; Physicians--Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Medical Center; Women in medicine

00:43:53 - Feeling like a doctor

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, you had to, uh--your parents had to be really proud of you.

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses when she started feeling like a doctor. She also talks about getting the camera with her medical school graduation pictures on it stolen from the back of her car.

Keywords: Boards; Cameras; College students; Doctors; Graduation; Impact; Interviews; Medical schools; Parents; Photographs

Subjects: Medical education; Physicians--Kentucky; Women in medicine; Women physicians.

00:45:50 - The biggest mistake of her professional career

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, what were the early years of your practice like?

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses the worst mistake that she has ever made in her professional career, which was signing on with a solo practitioner. She tells stories about her experiences working with this horrible person and how she used this awful experience to come out on the other side of the situation.

Keywords: Best interests; Chief residents; Colleagues; Counseling; Diagnosis; Difficult; Doctors; Employment contracts; Experience; Good Samaritan Hospital; Guilty; Junior partners; Loyal; Medical decisions; Mistakes; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Oncology; Patients; Reality; Smith Coleman Journal Club; Solo practitioners; Treatment; Truth

Subjects: Lexington (Ky.); Medical offices.; Medicine.; Physicians (General practice); Physicians--Kentucky; Women in medicine; Women physicians.

00:56:31 - Her private practice

Play segment

Partial Transcript: --but then once you actually started your own practice--

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses opening her private OB-GYN practice which, at the time, made her the only female OB-GYN in private practice in Lexington, Kentucky. She also talks about the AARP magazine that said that having women doctors will make you live longer.

Keywords: American Association of Retired Persons (AARP); Father figures; Fulfilling; Listeners; Magazine; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Patients; Private practice; Studies; Women

Subjects: Lexington (Ky.); Medical offices.; Medicine.; Physicians (General practice); Physicians--Kentucky; Women physicians.

00:59:43 - Changes in the medical field

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, thinking about women, you're, you're talking about women doctors, thinking about the changes over the years...

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses the changes she has seen in the medical field since the women of her generation have joined medicine. She talks about seeing men and women of her generation begin to balance the responsibility of having a family, as well as the relationship of doctors and midwives becoming more close knit.

Keywords: Acceptance; Balance; Benefits; Care; Children; Delivering; England; Generations; Hospital doctors; Influence; Junior partners; Knowledge; Men; Midwifery; Midwives; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Parenting; Patients; Private practice; Residents; Roles; Sharing; Sixth sense; Solo practice; Spouses; Support; Surgeons; Surgery; Surgical assistants

Subjects: Careers; Change.; Families.; Medical offices.; Medicine.; Physicians (General practice); Physicians--Kentucky; Women in medicine; Women physicians.

01:09:16 - A normal day in the office

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What was your 24 hour day like when you were in solo practice?

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses what her normal days were like when she was solo practicing. She talks about some of the rules that she set for herself about the office upkeep, as well as how she handled deliveries, and her emphasis on prenatal vitamins.

Keywords: Advice; Babies; Block scheduling; Call backs; Charts; Cheapest; Deliveries; Drinks; Effort; Errands; Folic acid; Good Samaritan Hospital; Labs; Medical records; Nurses; Patients; Phone messages; Prenatal records; Prenatal vitamins; Prices; Rules; Sleep; Solo practice; Surgery

Subjects: Medical offices.; Medicine.; Physicians (General practice); Physicians--Kentucky; Women in medicine; Women physicians.

01:14:57 - The highlights of her career

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What were some of the most significant, uh, highlights of your career?

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses what she considers to be the highlights of her career.

Keywords: Affirmation; Annual gynecology checkups; Delivering; Gynecology; HMOs; Highlights; Important; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Patients; Physically demanding; Problems; Revelations; Semi-retirement; Waiting lists

Subjects: Careers; Medical offices.; Medicine.; Physicians (General practice); Physicians--Kentucky; Women in medicine; Women physicians.

01:20:22 - Retiring from medicine

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, when you decided to retire, what, what, what encouraged you to retire?

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses having to retire from her practice because of spinal stenosis caused by a car accident five years prior to her retirement. She talks about having to do physical therapy, the changes she made to her lifestyle, and her decision to retire.

Keywords: Aching; Auto accidents; Changes; Ecuador; Herniated discs; Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); Mission trips; Numb; Pap smears; Paralysis; Physical exams; Physical therapy; Spinal stenosis; Surgery; Surgical candidate; Symptoms; Tables

Subjects: Physicians (General practice); Physicians--Kentucky; Retirement.; Women in medicine; Women physicians.

01:26:11 - Becoming an author

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, at what point did you start working on your book?

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses her decision to write a book and the process of developing the idea for it. She talks about her opinions on abortions, which the book is centered around, as well as coming up with titles for the book, and her decision to write a second one.

Keywords: "After the War is Over"; "Saving Jane Doe"; "Unforgivable sin"; "Vital Choices"; Abortion doctors; Adoption; Autographs; Books; Burdens; Characters; Consideration; Counseling; Family; Harold Leader; Illegal; Inspiration; Legal rights; Letters; Moral issues; Murder; Novels; Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN); Patients; Personal opinions; Publishers; Retirement; Reviews; Sadness; Support; Titles

Subjects: Abortion.; Authors.; Women in medicine; Women physicians.

01:35:31 - How medicine changed her life

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, looking back over your career and thinking about who you were before you first went into medicine, how has medicine changed you?

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses how medicine changed her as a person, with a significant focus on her faith. She talks about her father dying and how that affected her beliefs, as well as how regaining her faith influenced her to establish scholarships for students like herself that did not have the money to go to college. She also talks about the emphasis that her mother's family put on education.

Keywords: Bible studies; Cardiac arrest; Change; Churches; City policeman; Clinical years; Colleges; Endowments; Faith; Farmers; Fathers; Forgiveness; Funerals; Heart attacks; Hospitals; Illness; Judgmental; License; Life after life; Loving; Lung cancer; Major Donor Recognition Society; Medical schools; Modernism; New York Life Insurance Scholarship; Patients; Peace; Perfectionists; Philanthropy; Pray; Salvation Army; Scholarships; Treatment; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Careers; Christianity.; Death.; Education; Education, Higher; Religion; Women in medicine; Women physicians.

01:51:32 - Her advice for medical students / How she wants to be remembered

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What are some, uh, what are some of the suggestions that you would give to students that are, uh, thinking about medical school today?

Segment Synopsis: Purcell discusses the advice she would give to students wanting to go to medical school, as well as how she wants people to remember her after she has passed away.

Keywords: Bluegrass Community Foundation; Forgiving; Funds; Giving; Lessons; Listen; Loving; Medical school; Read; Retirement; Scholarships; Speed reading class; Students

Subjects: Medical education; Physicians (General practice); Physicians--Kentucky; Women in medicine; Women physicians.