Manuscript Collection No. 54
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Overview of the Collection
- Biographical Note
- Scope and Contents
- Related Material
- Administrative Information
- Index Terms
- Detailed Description of the Collection
|Repository:||Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library, John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center, 1133 John Freeman Blvd. Houston, Texas 77030|
|Creator:||Murdina MacFarquhar Desmond, MD (1916-2003)|
|Title:||Papers of Murdina MacFarquhar Desmond, MD|
|Quantity:||3.5 linear feet|
|Abstract:||Murdina M. Desmond, M.D., FAAP (Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics) was a member of a 1950s team that developed an infection control plan for hospital- acquired staphyloccous infection for newborns. Dr. Desmond began the first neonatal intensive care unit in the nation at the former Jefferson Davis Hospital and worked with affected babies at the hospital during the 1963-64 rubella outbreak. In 1973, she became director of the Leopold Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital. (Adapted from the obituary in the American Academy of Pediatrics News, 2003;23;123.)|
|Location:||Historical Research Center (HRC), 8272 El Rio, Suite 190, Houston, TX 77054. phone: 713.799.7145|
|Language:||The records are in English.|
Dr. Desmond was born in the Hebrides Islands of Scotland in 1916. Her family immigrated to the United States when she was 7. She attended Smith College on scholarship, graduating in 1938, and obtained her M.D. in 1942 from Temple School of Medicine. Following her internship and six months of pediatric residency, Dr. Desmond joined the U.S. Naval Reserve as a physician and actively served through World War II, including time at Pearl Harbor.
Postwar, she completed her peadiatric training and a fellowship in newborn research. In 1948, she moved to Houston, Texas to join the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine in the Pediatric Department which at that time consisted of four faculty members and two residents. In 1950, Baylor became affiliated with the former Jefferson Davis Hospital and a newborn service was established. Dr. Desmond became the first head of the newborn care section in the Pediatric Department.
In 1956, Dr. Desmond and two other physicians were alarmed at the death rate from staphylococcus infections at Jefferson Davis Hospital, the then city-county hospital. The doctors declared the nursery unsafe and closed it to any more admissions. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Desmond began the first neonatal intensive care unit in the nation at the hospital. Dr. Desmond also worked with infants born with drug addictions. She developed the transitional nursery in which at-risk infants were under close observation for potential medical problems. Infants who were seriously ill were placed in a separate unit, which became the first newborn intensive care unit in the southwestern states of the United States. Until Jefferson Davis Hospital closed, Dr. Desmond served as director of nurseries and as pediatric coordinator of its Maternal and Infant Care Project.
During the outbreak of rubella in 1963-64, Dr. Desmond worked with about 200 affected infants and children. She recognized that many at-risk infants who medical care was able to save developed conditions that required comprehensive evaluation and long-term care. In 1973 she became the director of the Leopold Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital. During this period she was on the team which cared for David Vetter, the “Bubble Boy.” The Desmond Neonatal Developmental Follow-up Clinic, named for Dr. Desmond, was established in 1994 to provide logitudinal follow-up and neurodevelopmental assessments for pre-term babies.
Dr. Desmond received the Apgar Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics; the Stanley Kalinski Award from the Texas Pediatric Society; and awards from Smith College and Temple University among others.
Dr. Desmond married James L. Desmond whom she met while serving in the Naval Reserve. They were married after the war and then moved to Houston, Texas, where her husband had a dental practice until his death in 1969. She and her husband had two children.
This collection holds photographs of Dr. Desmond as a medical student, Naval officer, and a faculty member of Baylor College of Medicine. The main portion of her papers deal with her work at Jefferson Davis Hospital, including grants she received from the John A. Hartford Foundation, and at Texas Children’s Hospital.Some background material and photographs of the illustrations she used in the book, Newborn Medicine and Society: European Background and American Practice (1750-1975), are included. She donated many books on the newborn and on pediatrics. These books have been cataloged and are available in the HAM-TMC Library’s online catalog.
Books which were donated with the collection were cataloged and placed in the John P. McGovern Historical Collection which is searchable through the HAM-TMC Library’s online catalog.
Dr. Desmond donated the items in the collection in 1999.
Murdina MacFarquhar Desmond, MD Papers, Manuscript Collection No. 54, John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center, Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library, 1133 John Freeman Blvd., Houston, Texas 77030
The collection was reviewed for duplicate materials and to establish or re-establish the order. Duplicate reprints were discarded. Paperclips and most other binding material were removed. When necessary, materials were interleaved with archival bond or put into mylar envelopes. Some articles and reports on acidic paper were copied onto archival bond and then discarded. Legal documents folded and housed in letter-sized folders were unfolded and the letter-sized folders replaced with legal-sized folders. Books were removed from the collection and cataloged with a local holding note which identified them as donated by Dr. Desmond.
|This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.|
|Baylor College of Medicine. Dept. of Pediatrics.|
|Intensive care, neonatal|
|Jefferson Davis Hospital (Houston, Tex.)|
|John A. Hartford Foundation|
|Texas Children’s Hospital|
|Series III: Reprints.|
|This series contains reprints of 80 articles Dr. Desmond authored or co/authored from 1949-1991. A list of the reprints is available in PDF format.|