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3/17/10

WHAT IS IT A GENIUS DOES That Makes Them a Genius A Doctor Figures Out WHY BABIES WERE GOING BLIND

He Figures Out What is Blinding Babies and Other Doctors Tell Him He's Nuts

What is it a genius does that is different? I think it's that he or she NOTICES something, a connection or relationship about something that others have never noticed or just ignored. Here is a case. Dr. Arnall Patz, a doctor NOTICED a relationship between oxygen in premature babies and blindness. Did they say congratulations? No, they told him to shut up!

WHAT IS IT A GENIUS DOES That Makes Them a Genius A Doctor Figures Out WHY BABIES WERE GOING BLIND

Per the NY Times, "Dr. Patz began his pathbreaking work in the 1950s, when he discovered that the high doses of oxygen widely administered to help premature infants breathe could cause a form of blindness. Known then as retrolental fibroplasia, it is now called retinopathy of prematurity, or R.O.P. The oxygen, he found, led to overgrowth of blood vessels in the eye, damaging the retina irreparably". Patz NOTICED that the oxygen was related to the increase in blindness.

"To prove his theory that oxygen was the cause, Dr. Patz had to OVERCOME THE HOSTILITY OF MANY DOCTORS AND NURSES who believed he was harming, not helping, the infants. The National Institutes of Health REJECTED AS UNSCIENTIFIC his initial application for a grant to study oxygen’s role". "While in training, Dr. Patz OBSERVED 21 infants who had developed severe R.O.P. after receiving continuous oxygen therapy delivered through a cone made from folded X-ray film. Four of the children showed a narrowing of the blood vessels in the retina that seemed to lead to R.O.P".





"Dr. Patz and the pediatrician in charge of the nursery, Dr. Leroy Hoeck, who died last year, suspected that oxygen was toxic in the amounts administered, Dr. Patz wrote in an account in The American Journal of Ophthalmology in 2006. DESPITE A LACK OF TRAINING IN RESEARCH and grant support, Dr. Patz carried out a clinical trial to test his theory with a loan from his brother, Louis".

  • Arnall Patz, a Doctor Who Prevented Blindness, Is Dead at 89