• Follow us

Health

Dr. Doris Wethers, 91, on Front Lines Against Sickle Cell, Dies

Dr. Doris L. Wethers, who broke racial barriers in the medical world before gaining renown for research and advocacy that helped lead to mandatory testing of all newborns for sickle cell anemia, died on Jan. 28 in Yonkers. She was 91.

The cause was complications of a stroke, her daughter-in-law Lisa Booker said.

In 1965, Dr. Wethers became the first black chief of a medical department at a New York City voluntary, or private nonprofit, hospital when she was named director of pediatrics at Knickerbocker Hospital in West Harlem.

Knickerbocker, which had a history of refusing to admit black patients, was renamed Arthur C. Logan Memorial Hospital before it closed in 1979.

She was later director of pediatrics from 1969 to 1974 at Sydenham Hospital (which was shuttered in 1980) and then, until 1979, at St. Luke’s Hospital Center (now Mount Sinai St. Luke’s). She became St. Luke’s first black attending physician in 1958.

ImageMembers of the Yale School of Medicine’s graduating class of 1952. Dr. Wethers, standing in the front row, was the third black woman to graduate from the school.CreditHarvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, Yale University School of Medicine

Dr. Wethers opened sickle cell anemia programs at all three hospitals, conducted research and helped draft landmark legislation in New York to require screening of infants for the disorder. Over the course of her career at the hospitals, the average life expectancy of children born with sickle cell rose from about 18 to 50.

The increase was attributed largely to early detection, infection prevention through the use of penicillin and other breakthroughs that helped mitigate pain and prolong life.

Research by Dr. Wethers and her colleagues called greater attention to sickle cell anemia, an inherited genetic disorder that is often thought to affect only black people but in fact can also be found among those of Mediterranean, Southeast Asian, Caribbean, Central American and East Indian heritage.

People with this abnormality produce blood cells that are shaped like sickles or crescents. Because the cells are rigid, they can clog capillaries and deprive tissues of blood and oxygen, leading to organ damage, stroke, blindness, severe pain and death. There is still no cure, although bone marrow transplants involving stem-cells have proved successful in some experiments.

In 1987, Dr. Wethers was the chairwoman of a National Institutes of Health panel that recommended routine testing for newborn babies regardless of race or ethnicity. New York was the first state to mandate such testing, in 1975, and all states provided for universal screening by 2006.

ImageDr. Wethers at the Yale School of Medicine bicentennial celebration in 2011. A colleague called her “the consummate clinician and a fearless advocate for improved patient care.”CreditJohn Curtis, Yale University

“She was on the front line of patient care long before any federal funding for sickle cell disease,” said Dr. Clarice D. Reid, the former national director of the sickle cell disease program of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. “She played a key role in many of the clinical advances of the ′80s and ′90s.”

She added, in an email, “Dr. Wethers was the consummate clinician and a fearless advocate for improved patient care.”

Doris Louise Wethers was born on Dec. 14, 1927, in Passaic, N.J., to Dr. William and Lillian (Wilkinson) Wethers. Her father was a general practitioner who later had an office in Harlem; her mother was a teacher.

Her parents divorced when Doris was a young girl, and she moved to Washington Heights in Manhattan with her mother and sister. After graduating from George Washington High School, she earned a bachelor of science degree from Queens College, where she majored in chemistry.

“I’ve wanted to be a physician ever since I can remember,” she told the Gartner Pediatric History Center for an oral history in 2002. “When I was growing up my dolls were always in sick beds.”

Notable Deaths 2018

A memorial to those who lost their lives in 2018

Aug. 3, 2018

She added, “I’m sure a lot of it had to do with my father, because he was so beloved by all of his patients, and he obviously loved medicine.”

Doris Wethers was the third black woman to graduate, in 1952, from the Yale School of Medicine. The second, Dr. Yvette Fay Francis-McBarnette, helped inspire Dr. Wethers’ interest in sickle cell disease, and they, with Lila A. Fenwick, later started the Foundation for Research and Education in Sickle Cell Disease. (Ms. Fenwick was the first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Law School.)

After graduating from Yale in 1952, Dr. Wethers interned at the newly desegregated District of Columbia General Hospital, where, she recalled, she seemed to be less threatening to white people as a black person because she was a woman.

“It was one of the few times, except in grammar, where two negatives make a positive,” she told New York Magazine in 1973.

Because that Washington hospital was not yet willing to accept a black person as a medical resident, though, Dr. Wethers began practicing at Bellevue Hospital in New York. She was also a clinical professor at what is now known as the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. She retired in 1999 as director of St. Luke’s sickle cell program.

Dr. Wethers married Dr. Garvall H. Booker, a dentist, in 1953. He died in 1996. She is survived by their two sons, Buddy and David Boyd Booker; and three grandchildren. She lived in Hudson Heights, in Upper Manhattan, and died in a hospital in Yonkers.

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

NYT > Health

Trilobites: Beaked Whales Are the Deepest Divers 2019-02-07 15:32:10Cuvier’s beaked whales off Cape Hatteras dive farther and stay underwater longer than any other marine mammal.

Dr. Doris Wethers, 91, on Front Lines Against 2019-02-07 14:20:39Breaking racial barriers in New York’s medical world, she earned renown for research and advocacy that led to mandatory testing for sickle cell

A High-Tech Pill to End Drug Injections 2019-02-07 14:00:04Engineers have developed a tiny robotic capsule that injects insulin once it lands in the stomach.

What Is Late-Term Abortion? Trump Got It Wrong 2019-02-07 13:22:55In his State of the Union address, he used scary imagery that scientists say is incorrect.

The Patient Had Bone Cancer. The Diagnosis Arrived 2019-02-07 12:24:46The fossil of an ancient animal teaches a sad lesson: Cancer has been around for a very, very long time.

Living Alone Can Be Deadly 2019-02-07 11:27:19Men who lived alone had a 23 percent increased risk for dying prematurely from any cause and a 36 percent increased risk for cardiovascular death.

The Prescription Drugs That Rich People Buy 2019-02-07 11:26:08Though they tend to be healthier and fill fewer prescriptions over all, they’re likelier to purchase certain serious medications, an analysis fi

Key West Bans Sunscreen Containing Chemicals Believed to 2019-02-07 11:23:28The law’s supporters see it as a crucial step toward protecting the city’s reefs, which draw visitors from around the globe.

U.K. Doctors Call for Caution in Children’s Use 2019-02-07 11:08:07Britain’s chief medical officers declined to recommend specific age or time limits, but saw associations between social media use and mental hea

Measles Outbreak in Philippines Spreads Beyond Capital 2019-02-07 07:59:04Health officials said a vaccine scare in 2017 had deterred parents from immunizing their children against the disease.

you asked: A Lady’s Many Scents 2019-02-07 07:00:04Pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, douching: Is your body’s natural odor a “fixable” problem?

Italian Alpine Spas, Where Sports Are an Afterthought 2019-02-07 03:01:21The South Tyrol has become a modern wellness destination, where tranquillity imposes itself and soothing waters call.

Scientific American: Health

We Need to Stop Drug-Resistant Malaria at Its 2019-01-31 12:00:00Immediate, targeted interventions in Southeast Asia could prevent a pandemic -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

The Topography of Disease 2019-01-29 12:00:00A 19th-century doctor famously mapped cholera’s toll to try and understand its origin and spread—but that's only part of the story -- Rea

We Need to Talk about Intestinal Worms 2019-01-29 07:00:00More than a half billion children were treated for these debilitating parasites in 2017—but even more are still suffering -- Read more on Scient

Vaccinating Mice May Finally Slow Lyme Disease 2019-01-29 06:45:00Killing ticks and inoculating people has failed, so researchers try immunizing mice via vaccine-laced food -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

When Physicians Need to Ask for Help 2019-01-28 12:00:00I learned during my last year of medical training—the most difficult year of my life—that “going it alone” did not make me str

The Trump Administration Is Jeopardizing Public Health 2019-01-28 10:00:00The EPA has been transformed from an environmental guardian into an agency that eschews science and uses cost-benefit analyses to reject regulations t

When Lyme Disease Strikes an Unborn Child 2019-01-25 07:00:00A mom can pass the pathogen to her fetus—but the World Health Organization has removed “congenital Lyme disease” from its definitive

Why Rocking to Sleep Is a Matchless Sedative—and 2019-01-24 11:00:00Back-and-forth motions may tweak the sensory organs that control our balance and spatial orientation -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Are We Innately Immune to Cancer? 2019-01-24 07:00:00At some level, yes, and new therapies could boost the body’s natural anti-cancer responses -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Unfair Diagnosis: Socioeconomic Gap Drives Cancer Outcomes 2019-01-23 12:00:00Too often, ethnicity and income level determine whether a patient survives cancer -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

4 Ways to Improve Your Posture and Lose 2019-01-23 10:30:00A nicely aligned body is a nicely stacked body -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Ebola Vaccine Supplies Are Expected to Last 2019-01-23 09:00:00The World Health Organization predicts the Democratic Republic of the Congo has enough of the experimental vaccine -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.

MedicineNet Daily News

Fertility Treatments Don't Raise Cancer Risk for Offspring 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Fertility Treatments Don't Raise Cancer Risk for OffspringCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12

Even Brief EMS Delay Can Cost Lives After 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Even Brief EMS Delay Can Cost Lives After Car CrashCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12:00:00 A

Opioid OD Deaths Are Saving Lives Through Transplantation 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Opioid OD Deaths Are Saving Lives Through TransplantationCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12:0

Benign Ovarian Cysts Should Be Left in Place, 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Benign Ovarian Cysts Should Be Left in Place, Study SuggestsCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 1

In West Virginia, Few Opioid OD Survivors Get 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: In West Virginia, Few Opioid OD Survivors Get Good Follow-Up Care: StudyCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review

AHA News: Actress Susan Lucci Thriving After Emergency 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: AHA News: Actress Susan Lucci Thriving After Emergency Heart ProcedureCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review:

Trump's Goal of No New HIV Cases by 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Trump's Goal of No New HIV Cases by 2030 Is Possible, Health Officials SayCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Rev

MS Drug Costs Skyrocket After Medicare Rule Change: 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: MS Drug Costs Skyrocket After Medicare Rule Change: StudyCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12:0

Education No Match Against Alzheimer's 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Education No Match Against Alzheimer'sCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12:00:00 AM

Hunting, Harvesting Leave Big Animals at Risk of 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Hunting, Harvesting Leave Big Animals at Risk of Extinction: StudyCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/

Cablivi Approved for Rare Clotting Disorder 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Cablivi Approved for Rare Clotting DisorderCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12:00:00 AM

Patient Tested for Ebola at Philadelphia Hospital 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Patient Tested for Ebola at Philadelphia HospitalCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12:00:00 AM

FOX News

Dog owners claim 'toxic' vitamin D levels in 2019-02-07 15:52:13A seemingly endless number of dog owners from across the country have slammed Hill’s Pet Nutrition on social media for the deaths of their belov

LA City Hall may remove carpets amid downtown 2019-02-07 13:49:42Los Angeles officials are potentially exploring ripping out all the carpet at City Hall amid reports of the building being overrun by rats and fleas a

North Carolina UPS driver says following 'gut feeling' 2019-02-07 12:20:37A North Carolina UPS driver said he had a "gut feeling" something was wrong when he noticed a customer along his usual route hadn't picked up a pac

Texas mom says post warning against kissing babies 2019-02-07 12:03:48A Texas woman is crediting the heartbreaking post of a grieving mother with helping to save her own little girl after the other woman shared that thei

Army aims for more combat-ready troops with new 2019-02-07 10:32:58Army soldiers struggle to haul heavy sleds backward as fast as they can down a grassy field at Fort Bragg, filling the brisk North Carolina morning ai

Woman seeks 'Dr. Pimple Popper's' help removing 'horn' 2019-02-07 09:35:09A woman with a family history of head cysts grew emotional while explaining to a celebrity dermatologist that for the past year, one of the growths ha

Fisher-Price recalls 44,000 Barbie Dream Campers over ‘injury 2019-02-06 16:34:43Toy giant Fisher-Price has announced a voluntary recall of roughly 44,000 children's Power Wheels Barbie Dream Campers over a potential ‘injury

New Jersey Dunkin' Donuts worker tests positive for 2019-02-06 14:12:40Customers who visited a Dunkin’ Donuts location on the Jersey Shore last week are being urged to get the hepatitis A vaccination after an employ

Marijuana use may boost sperm count, study claims 2019-02-06 12:58:17Wannabe dads now have high hopes.

Colorado woman who claimed hospital removed healthy kidneys 2019-02-06 12:18:51The 73-year-old woman who had both her healthy kidneys removed in what she had claimed was an erroneous procedure has died nine months after the 

Woman left suffering from swollen lips, full-body rash 2019-02-06 11:58:09A woman in Ireland who was diagnosed with chronic idiopathic urticarial (CIU), or chronic idiopathic hives, said she is terrified that her debili

Mom who lost ear to skin cancer claims 2019-02-06 10:36:13A mother in the U.K. is calling for a ban on tanning beds after she claims her affinity for fake color as a young teen led to the eventual amputation

Health News - UPI.com

Combo of diabetes, leukemia drugs may fight breast 2019-02-06 09:36:15 A combination of popular diabetes and immunotherapy drugs can kill breast cancer, a new study says.

Long-acting contraception demand grew drastically after Trump election 2019-02-05 17:00:49 Soon after Donald Trump won the 2016 election, the number of women receiving IUD insertions to prevent pregnancies skyrocketed, a new study says.

Blood protein contributes to memory loss in Alzheimer's 2019-02-05 16:30:46 A protein found in blood could be the key to identifying the cause of Alzheimer's disease, a new study says.

Chronic pain drives most medical cannabis use, study 2019-02-05 12:57:06 The acceptance of marijuana use to alleviate pain from illness continues to spread from state to state, a new study says.

Prolonged sitting, watching TV may increase colorectal cancer 2019-02-05 12:13:20 Sitting and watching TV for an extended time can increase the colorectal cancer risk for younger adults, a new study says.

Insulin-producing cells grown in lab may be type 2019-02-05 09:27:15 A new, effective alternative to pancreas tranplantation may be on the horizon to treat type 1 diabetes, a study says.

Balloon-guided catheters offer better blood flow after stroke, 2019-02-04 16:01:09 People who've suffered strokes may have a new, more effective way to unclog their arteries, a new study says.

Study: Women's brains have more Alzheimer's-causing proteins than 2019-02-04 15:01:27 Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than men, and now a recent study may explain why.

Study: Income, education linked to sudden cardiac death 2019-02-04 12:26:22 Economic woes have led to a spike in the number of black people, particularly black women, having sudden heart failure, a new study says.

Scientists link protein to increased risk for heart 2019-02-04 11:37:44 Researchers have zeroed in on a key protein linked to diabetes, heart disease and stroke, a new study says.

Obesity-linked cancers on the rise in young adults 2019-02-04 09:58:16 Rates for six of 12 cancers associated with obesity are growing among younger adult Americans, a new study says.

Minority hospitals less likely to give end of 2019-02-01 16:36:15 Hospitals that primarily serve people of color are less likely to provide relief from the stress of a serious illness, regardless of the person's ra


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.