Opinion

How one man saved a generation of premature babies
Sree Vijaykumar
Sree Vijaykumar
From the Editor's Desk
Martin Couney displayed premature babies in incubators as entertainment, amongst Coney Island's various exhibits in the early 1900s. He charged visitors 25 cents each to view these "exhibits". The babies were dressed in clothes that were intentionally bigger and with bow-ties, which exaggerated the effect of them being tiny. Couney was shunned by the medical establishment, and condemned by many as a self-publicist and charlatan. Now, what if I told you he was an unlikely medical pioneer. He gave life to thousands of babies where hope was lost (In America, many doctors at the time held the view that premature babies were genetically inferior "weaklings" whose fate was a matter for God.). His incubators were state-of-the-art and his nurses well-paid. Keeping premature babies alive was hideously expensive, but he did not charge his patients a dime, as the public paid for it, through his exhibitions. Today Couney's legacy is being re-examined by doctors, and many of Couney's "babies" speak proudly in his defence. More on this story here
 


Page 382 of 608