כ"ב אייר התשפ"ד
30.05.2024

German Jew Sparked the Birth of Neonatology in America

In the early 1900's doctors in America did not care for premature infants. They believed that premature babies were genetically inferior "weaklings" whose fate was a matter for God. Babies born prematurely in America at that time were not treated, the vast majority of whom were destined to die.

German Jew Sparked the Birth of Neonatology in America
דוברות בית חולים רמב"ם

For decades American doctors did little to save the lives of preemies, so Martin Couney came up with an innovative solution, which eventually changed the course of American neonatology.

He imported the latest incubators from France which was then the world leader in premature infant care. (America lagged several decades behind.) He hired a staff of nurses and wet nurses to care for the babies. He insisted on strict hygiene and encouraged the nurses to hug and kiss the infants as he believed that they responded to affection (In contrast to most hospital doctors then who minimized contact with premature infants.)

Caring for preemies in 1903 cost about $15 a day ($405 today). Couney didn't charge parents a penny- the public paid.

Couney ran his hospital on Coney Island and charge the public 25 cents to view the babies. "Martin Couney's Infant Incubator facility was one of Coney Island's most popular exhibits. "All the World Loves a Baby" read a sign above the entrance.

Today it would be considered unethical to exhibit premature babies and charge fairgoers to see them, notes Dr Richard Schanler, director of Neonatal Services at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York and Northwell Health. "But you have to think back to that time," he says.

"Nowadays when new technology comes out we do randomized controlled trials. They didn't do those back then so the shows were a way of demonstrating the benefit of using incubators… We owe a lot to Couney and the work he was doing."

In the 40 years that Couney ran his infant incubator facilities at Coney Island and Atlantic City he save the lives of almost 6.500 babies with a success rate of 85%. While for a time many saw Couney as a quack, doctors began sending babies to him. Finally in 1939 a New York hospital opened a ward dedicated to the care of premature infants.

"As time passed, Couney's track record of saving lives, and his evident sincerity, began to attract supporters from the world of mainstream medicine. In 1914, while exhibiting in Chicago, Couney met a local pediatrician, Julius Hess, who would go on to become known as the father of American neonatology. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship and an important professional relationship. The two men ran an infant incubator facility together at the 1933/34 Chicago World's Fair."

קישורים:
How one man saved a generation of premature babies
Martin Couney Coney Island preemie premature infant incubator

art

'בחדרי' גם ברשתות החברתיות - הצטרפו!

הוספת תגובה

לכתבה זו טרם התפרסמו תגובות

תגובות

הוסיפו תגובה
{{ comment.number }}.
{{ comment.date_parsed }}
הגב לתגובה זו
{{ reply.date_parsed }}
טען עוד