Dr. Liebe Sokol Diamond joins the Baltimore Jewish Hall of Fame
Little Liebe Sokol was born on January 10, 1931 with ring constrictive syndrome that had caused her to lose several of her fingers and toes while in utero. She underwent 25 surgeries during her youngest years, but grew up to become one of the leading pediatric orthopedic surgeons in the country.
Dr. Diamond says that because she was an only child, she received “a son’s education.” She enrolled in Smith College at the age of 16, graduating magna cum laude in 1951 with a degree in chemistry and a double minor in physics and zoology. When she chose to go to medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, a member of Dr. Diamond’s synagogue warned her father that she was receiving too much education and would become “unmanageable,” to which he replied that she was already unmanageable.
Dr. Diamond was the first female resident at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1957, she became HUP’s first female orthopedic surgical resident. Of her residency she recalled, “In retrospect, maybe some of my rough times were because I was a woman. We were tolerated, in a physical sense, but I can’t say I was discriminated against in any sense. Out of 200 house officers (interns and residents) there were only five women. You took what was dished out, and you shut up and drank your beer. We all thought that if we made any noise, we’d be kicked out.”
Shortly after completing her formal surgical training, she was introduced to a young doctor, Earl L. Diamond, who was working at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The two were married on December 11, 1960, and their son Joshua was born a few years later.
Dr. Diamond’s work has had a lasting impact on the field of orthopedic surgery, an impact that is all the more important because of her personal handicap. Dealing with children and parents often facing heartbreaking realities, Liebe Diamond’s example, “takes away some of the rarity of it all…it takes away some of the aloneness, the fear of the future.”
At her induction into the Jewish Hall of Fame, the presenters noted that Dr. Diamond “is nationally recognized for her contributions in the field of pediatric orthopedic surgery with her innovative techniques for correcting limb deformities in children.”
One of Dr. Diamond’s principles is still taught to surgical residents at the University of Pennsylvania today: “It is not what the hand looks like, it’s what it can do. The most skillful hand is the most invisible one.”
You can watch a video and hear Dr. Diamond speak about her life by clicking here.
Sources: “Baltimore Jewish Hall of Fame,” Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore; “Liebe Sokol Diamond,” Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame; “Liebe Sokol Diamond, M.D.,” Archives of Maryland; “Overheard at Medical Alumni Weekend: Orthopaedic Surgeon Liebe Sokol Diamond, M’55, HUP’s First Female Resident,” Perelman School of Medicine Alumni Newsletter, July 2010.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Dr. Liebe Sokol Diamond joins the Baltimore Jewish Hall of Fame." (Viewed on May 23, 2015) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/jun/12/2013/this-week-in-history-dr-liebe-sokol-diamond-joins-baltimore-jewish-hall-of-fame>.