This week’s film from The Loopline Collection is ‘Kathleen Lynn -The Rebel Doctor’. Lynn was so greatly affected by the poverty and disease among the poor in the west of Ireland that, at 16, she decided to become a doctor and was a member of the executive committee of the Irish Women’s Suffragette Movement.
Alongside Constance Markievicz, Lynn supported the workers during the 1913 lock-out and worked in the soup kitchens in Liberty Hall. She was the Chief Medical Officer in the Irish Citizen Army during the 1916 Rising. She described herself as ‘a Red Cross doctor and a belligerent’ when she was arrested.
After putting enormous work into fighting the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic she opened Saint Ultan’s Children’s Hospital. At the time the child mortality rate was higher than anywhere else in Europe. Lynn’s work with Dublin’s inner-city poor had convinced her of the need for a hospital to provide medical and educational facilities for impoverished mothers and infants. In time the little hospital became a beacon for the poor.
When the scourge of TB swept the land, Lynn joined forces with Dorothy Stopford Price in bringing in a new vaccine that was working well in Sweden. Saint Ultan’s became the main TB Eradication Centre. There is a major campaign to have Saint James’s Hospital named in her honour.
Watch the film here
Thank you to Loopline Film and the Irish Film Institute.