Sigh. This page makes me think of J. Marion Sims, the father of American gynecology... here's a paragraph from the Wikipedia article about him:
"Women with vesicovaginalfistulas - usually the result of traumatic labor - were, in those days, social outcasts. No cure was available. In Montgomery, Alabama, Sims treated three Alabamian slave women - Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy - who were suffering from fistula problems, to develop new techniques to repair this condition or be used as experiments for medical research. From 1845 to 1849 he experimented on them, operating on Anarcha 30 times (it remains unclear if this was necessary due to stitching failure, or if Sims did it deliberately). Although anesthesia had recently become available, Sims did not use any anesthetic during his procedures on Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy. After the extensive experiments and difficulties, Sims finally perfected his technique and repaired the fistulas successfully in Anarcha. He then repaired several other slave women. It was only after the success of the early experiments on the slaves that Sims attempted the procedure on Caucasian women with fistulas, this time with anesthesia."