This day in history - September 7, 1888 - First US Baby Placed in an Incubator

in Home Edders6 months ago

Edith Eleanor McLean has an unusual spot in the history books. She was born premature, weighing only 2.4 ounces (1106g) and in previous generations, would have been unlikely to live.

Premature babies often struggled to survive. An incubator is able to give a stable and germ-free environment which boosts the baby's chances of living.

The machine that saved Edith's life was not the first infant incubator developed. Early versions of this machine was used in Germany from about 1835. The first model to be released was designed by Carl Credé in 1860 and the first warm-air incubator was released in 1880 by Dr. Étienne Stéphane Tarnier (inspired by egg incubators in the Paris Zoo.)

Following writings about this amazing invention, the machine spread to other countries, including the US, where Edith made history in 1888.

Even then, it took awhile for the contraption to catch on. The machines were expensive, so hospitals did not rush to jump onto this bandwagon.

Then, came the Chicago World's Fair in 1933...

Baby_incubator.jpg
(An early incubator - PBS - used for educational purposes.)

Dr. Couney gets the credit for making the baby incubator popular in the USA, by putting them on display for fair goers to see. (The admission charge paid for the treatment for the babies on display.) This lead to countless lives being saved through the use in the 90 years since then. Watch the video...

Miraculously, Edith did live and, after her name was changed to Myrtle (probably to protect her privacy), grew to get married and have 13 children of her own.


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