Caroline Hampton

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Caroline Hampton Halsted (20 November 1861 – 27 November 1922)[1] was a nurse who became the first to use medical gloves in the operating room,[2][3] at the instigation of her spouse-to-be William Stewart Halsted.


She was a member of a prominent southern family; her uncle, Wade Hampton III, was a Confederate General, governor of South Carolina, and a US senator. Her father, Colonel Frank Hampton, died early in the Civil War. Their family home was burned, and Hampton was raised by three aunts.[2]

Against her family's wishes, she went to nursing school in New York. Halsted appointed her chief nurse of the operating room at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Her marriage to Halsted was notable for the eccentricity of each. Anecdotes about their modes of entertaining, attachment to pets and marital life amused local society.[3][4]

Rubber gloves[edit]

The impetus for Hampton's use of gloves was her development of contact dermatitis from the hospital's antiseptic solution. Dr. Halsted requested that the Goodyear Rubber Company make some rubber gloves. The gloves worked well when Halsted's team trialed them.[2]


  1. ^ Rothrock Bleser, Carol K. 1981. The Hammonds of Redcliffe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 279.
  2. ^ a b c Lathan, SR (2010). "Caroline Hampton Halsted: The first to use rubber gloves in the operating room". Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings. 23 (4): 389–92. PMC 2943454Freely accessible. PMID 20944762. 
  3. ^ a b King, WH (1982). "Caroline Hampton Halsted and her family, revisited". North Carolina medical journal. 43 (7): 501–4. PMID 6181419. 
  4. ^ Swingle, Anne Bennett (Winter 2002). "She Thawed His Icy Heart". Hopkins Medical News. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 

External links[edit]

Caroline Hampton Halsted at Find a Grave