Ground-breaking doctor Doris Gordon's work lives on in the memorial trust that bears her name, and new Taranaki mums are the latest to benefit.
The Doris Gordon Memorial Trust has donated $3400 to the Taranaki Health Foundation to purchase a new Symphony breast pump, which supports new mothers to breastfeed.
Taranaki District Health Board lactation consultant Deb Wright says breast pumps are used regularly in the Taranaki Base and Hawera maternity units, paediatric ward, neo natal unit, as well as in the Taranaki community.
"Establishing breastfeeding can present challenges in various ways. The ability to provide an electric breast pump to families supports sustaining breast milk supply and breastfeeding, and offers more options for infant feeding and mothers."
Symphony branded breast pumps will replace the Taranaki DHB's current Lactina breast pumps, which are no longer being made and will therefore be phased out.
Dedicated to the care of women and children, Dr Doris Gordon devoted her life to obstetrics and improving the pre-natal and postnatal care of New Zealand women. She was Taranaki's first female doctor, running a general practice in Stratford and private hospital, Marire, along with her husband Dr Bill Gordon.
Born in 1890 and known simply as 'Dr Doris' throughout Taranaki and within the medical fraternity, Dr Doris Gordon paved the way for women's health in New Zealand. Dr Doris' major contribution was raising money to fund the first chair in obstetrics and gynaecology in New Zealand in Dunedin in the early 1930s, and the second (postgraduate) chair in Auckland about 1950.
Among her long list of obstetric achievements, in 1954 she was made an honorary fellow of the London-based Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists – at that time, the only woman outside royalty to be given the honour and the only woman in the southern hemisphere.
Her work on behalf of the women of New Zealand led to Dr Doris being awarded a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1935.
The Doris Gordon Memorial Trust was established after her death in 1956 by the NZ Obstetric and Gynaecological Society, which Dr Doris established in 1927, and the National Council of Women.
In recent years, the fund has been re-established, with the trust's chairman, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (retired) Ron Jones (CNZM for services to women's health), presenting the donation to the Taranaki Health Foundation at a function on March 23.
As part of the presentation, Dr Jones spoke to the gathering of about 50 people at New Plymouth's Te Henui Chapel about Dr Doris' life's work. Members of Dr Doris' family attended the event, including several of her Taranaki-based grandchildren.
Taranaki Health Foundation general manager Adrian Sole thanked the Doris Gordon Memorial Trust for its donation to the foundation.
"Doris was an inspirational and courageous woman. This is an extremely important device for women that can be used through multiple wards," said Adrian of the donation for the breast pump. "I'm sure Dr Doris herself would approve, particularly as it will supports new mothers."