Anne Penland, Asheville Native, W.W. I Nurse Anesthetist
Join us to learn more about Anne Penland and other heroic nurses, who saved lives and comforted wounded and dying soldiers, often coming under attack themselves.
Shortly after the United States entered World War I in 1917, the “Presbyterian Hospital was asked to send two surgical teams near the front to support the British attack on Western Belgium, one of the teams used a nurse as its anesthetist. Major William Darrach, the team’s surgeon and a future dean of P&S, told a British colonel that Anne Penland’12, was the most qualified in the group, even though the colonel didn’t think a nurse could physically hold down a larger man while giving anesthesia. One night more than 1,200 casualties came through the makeshift hospital and Ms. Penland performed admirably. Her achievements motivated the British to develop programs for nurse anesthetists. Graduates later freed up more than 100 doctors for medical and surgical work during the war.” [From “Nurses Who Went to War” by Matthew Dougherty.]