Recently I came across a book (yes, we're back to books again) titled MORMON SISTERS. I devoured it, as it related the heroism and courage and bravery of pioneer women.
Among other things, the author described the Mormon midwives, the lives of both mothers and babies they saved, sometimes using only the crudest instruments and most limited of training. These women did not have the luxury of operating in a sterile environnment. Nor did they have, for the most part, others to assist them. They jumped in, did what was necessary, and probably received little if no payment.
They practiced their trade in the frigid conditions of Winter Quarters where the pioneers spent that first brutal winter on the trek to the Salt Lake Valley. They rode on horseback miles and miles to attend to outlying settlers. They took their art and their compassion to reservations, where other doctors frequently refused to attend to patients.
Their practice was not limited only to midwifery as they were often the only medical help available and were called upon to treat all manner of injury and disease. One sister recounted how she had to amputate a man's leg using only a saw. (He survived.)
These were true women, women who stared down mobs, sickness, and ignorance. They faced poverty, prejudice, and persecution. They gave everything they had ... and then some.
This I know for sure: if I could emulate these women in one tiny respect, I would consider myself noble indeed.