Obit of the Day: World’s Oldest Physician
Although Dr. Leila Denmark comes to Obit of the Day because of her longevity - she died at the age of 114 - her accomplishments would have earned her a post if she had died at 64, 84, or 104. Dr. Denmark, who was the world’s fourth oldest person, was a legend in pediatric medicine and in the state of Georgia.
When Dr. Denmark was born it was still the 19th century and the biggest news event was the Spanish-American War. As an adult she taught high school science for two years before deciding to enter medical school. She graduated from the Medical School of Georgia in 1928 (Calvin Coolidge was president), only the third woman to earn her M.D. from the school. After becoming the first female resident at Henrietta Egleston Hospital for Children* in Atlanta, she started a private practice from her home after her daughter was born.
Dr. Denmark saw thousands of children in her practice before she retired at the age of 103 - which made her the oldest practicing physician in the world at the time. During her seventy-plus years in medicine Dr. Denmark helped develop the whooping cough vaccine and authored a parenting book, Every Child Should Have a Chance. In 2002, Dr. Denmark Said It!: Advice for Mothers from America’s Most Experienced Pediatrician was published. Dr. Denmark, who was named Atlanta’s Woman of the Year in 1953, lived on her own until the age of 106.
Leila Denmark, age 114 years and 62 days, died in her daughter’s home in Athens, Georgia.
(Image is courtesy of Dr. Denmark’s website - yes, the woman who was born before the invention of radio had her own website - www.drleiladenmark.com)
*Egleston Hospital is now Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.