Making a Difference: Dr. Natalie Stephens Turner

Female Physician Broke Through Barriersby Fran Thomas

FORT MYERS – Those who know Natalie Turner, a Shell Point resident for 23 years, would not be surprised to learn what a positive impact she has had on the lives of thousands women during her lifetime. In the days when women were encouraged to stay home and have babies, she was actually delivering them. Practicing under her maiden name, Dr. Natalie Stephens, she was an obstetrician and gynecologist in Chicago before moving to Florida.

Dr. Natalie Stephens Turner

Dr. Turner grew up in South Orange, New Jersey. By age five and a half, she knew she wanted to be a doctor after fracturing the epiphysis of her elbow while see-sawing with a cousin. She became fascinated by subsequent medical procedures.

“I wasn’t afraid. I thought everything was wonderful, even when they gave me ether,” she recounts. “I never changed my mind.”

It was that sense of single-mindedness that propelled her through the then “men’s club” of medical school. When it came time to go to college, she headed to Syracuse University.

“There were no medical schools in New Jersey at the time. The New Jersey constitution forbade vivisection.”

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