Neonatal Intensive Care Month | Mildred Stahlman


Mildred Stahlman, M.D. 1958

September is Neonatal Intensive Care Month, always an appropriate time to honor the contributions of Mildred Stahlman, M.D., who pioneered the use of artificial respiration on infant lungs. Dr. Stahlman, who graduated from Vanderbilt medical school in 1946, was awarded a National Institute of Health grant in 1959 to build a modern nursery and neonatal laboratory at Vanderbilt. This nursery was specifically designed to treat infants suffering from hyaline membrane disease, which prevents the alveoli (air sacs in the lungs) from working properly. She successfully treated her first such patient soon after the nursery opened in 1961, and her decision to use a respirator specifically designed for premature infants led to the development of neonatal respiratory therapy. Dr. Stahlman’s nursery has since come to be recognized as the first modern NICU, and Stahlman herself as the mother of modern neonatology. Dr. Stahlman is professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University.

Many of Dr. Stahlman’s records, papers, photographs, and other items are housed in the EBL Special Collections, including the pictured object from her laboratory. Unfortunately, we’ve been unable to determine exactly what its purpose was. Can you help us identify this item?


More information about Mildred Stahlman, can be found at:

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