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DR. PATRICIA BATH

Updated: Feb 8, 2022



About Dr. Patricia Bath


Dr. Patricia Bath is an African American ophthalmologist, inventor, and academic scholar. Bath was also the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent for inventing the Laserphaco Probe for cataract treatment in 1986 which was less painful and precise. She has broken gender borders by being the first African American woman to complete a residency in ophthalmology and also being the first to be inducted into the prestigious National Inventors Hall of Fame. In the past year, 3.6 million people have treated their cataracts thanks to Bath's incredible contribution to the medical field.


Bath grew up in Harlem, New York where prejudice was prominent; therefore, she couldn't go to medical school there due to tensions. She then moved to Los Angeles, California where she was also treated with injustice. Her office was located "in the basement next to the lab animals." She argued that it was not sexism that threw her off, but that it was just inappropriate and succeeded in getting acceptable office space.


In 1968, Bath realized that in Harlem Hospital's Eye Clinic they did not perform any surgeries and this was a shock for her. She was the reason for bringing ophthalmic surgical services to the hospital by persuading her professors at Columbia to operate on blind patients for free. She then volunteered as an assistant surgeon. As a result of her efforts, she performed her first major eye operation at Harlem Hospital in 1970.