1560 - ca. 1640

Blunt-hook birth delivery

Marie Colinet was born in Geneva, Switzerland. She married Wilhelm Fabry, today called “The Father of German surgery”. Colinet was a mother and house wife but often worked together with her husband in surgery. While learning all the tricks of surgery through a wakeful eye and ear, she soon worked independently and excelled him (according to her husband).

Later, she moved into gynaecology and obstetrics because this was her true passion from an early age. Again, as a helper, this time to midwifes, she learned everything about midwifery. She soon advanced caesarean sections and introduced the use of heat to dilate and stimulate the uterus during labour to ease childbirth. Finally, thanks to her inventiveness, during a difficult delivery in 1623, she was the first to use a blunt-hook to deliver a baby.

Another important invention of hers was to remove an iron splinter from the eye using a magnet. Magnets are still in use today in modern surgery. While her husband clearly devoted this invention to his wife, it was often connected with his person.

In a time when it was unthinkable for a woman to practice medicine, Colinet was a gifted woman in both surgery and gynaecology, whose diligence, passion, and inventiveness knew no bounds.

Besides her capability and interest in midwifery and surgery, she wrote several religious books.

Written by: Theresa Burkard.