Dorothy Price

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Dorothy Price
File:Dorothy Stopford at Meath Hospital.jpg
Dorothy Price at Meath Hospital
Born Dorothy Stopford
8 September 1890
Dublin, Ireland
Died 28 January 1954 (aged 63)
Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Occupation Physician
Known for BCG Vaccine

Dorothy Stopford Price (8 September 1890 – 30 January 1954) was an Irish physician who was key to the elimination of childhood tuberculosis in Ireland by introducing the BCG vaccine.[1][2]

Early life

Her father was Jemmett Stopford, who was descended from a long line of Church of Ireland clerics.[3] Her mother was Constance Kennedy, a Protestant, whose father was Dr Evory Kennedy, a master of the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, from 1833–1840.[4] Her aunt was historian Alice Stopford Green.[5] The Stopfords had 4 children: Alice, Edie, Dorothy and Robert. The births of the children are registered at different addresses in south Dublin. In 1887 they were living at Roebuck Lodge, Dundrum, in 1890 at Newstead, Clonskeagh, and in 1895 at 28, Highfield Road, Rathgar.[6] Jemmett Stopford died from typhoid fever in 1902, and his spending left the family so badly off that Constance Kennedy had to sell the family home of Wyvern in Bushy Park Road in Terenure, Rathfarnham. The family relocated to 65 Campden Gardens in West Kensington, London.[7] Dorothy lived through two World Wars, the Spanish Influenza pandemic, the 1916 Rising in Ireland, and the foundation of a new Irish state.[8] She was brought up as a child of the British Empire, living in Dublin and, later, moving to London. Dorothy spent Easter 1916 as a guest of Sir Matthew Nathan, the British Under-Secretary. While residing there, she had a unique view of the Easter Rising as seen by the British administration in Ireland. Her Easter 1916 diary is in the Irish National Library, Dublin. After the Rising, Dorothy began to question her political allegiances and converted to Irish nationalism.

Education

Dorothy first began her education by working with the Charitable Organisation Society, where she studied a form of social science. She also passed an examination to study Art, Design and Ornamentation in the Regent Street Polytechnic. She sat a further exam which gave her the opportunity to enter the Royal College of Art, but did not do so.[9] She ultimately decided to study medicine at 25 and was a medical student in Trinity College Dublin from 1916 to 1921. She graduated with a BA in 1920, BAO (Bachelor in Midwifery), BCh (Bachelor in Surgery) and MB in 1921. As part of her training she worked in the Meath Hospital, Dublin, as a clinical clerk. In 1918 and early 1919, she witnessed the Spanish flu at first hand. She tended to victims during the day and cycled to the mortuary at night to carry out post mortems.[10]

Career

After she qualified as a doctor, Dorothy's first job was as a dispensary doctor in Kilbrittain in County Cork, where she also engaged in the Irish War of Independence, tending to injured members of the IRA. During the ensuing Irish Civil War, she favoured the Republican side. Dorothy joined Cumann na mBan, the IRA's Auxiliary, and gave lectures on first aid as part of her involvement. Her biggest career achievements were through her involvements with TB. Dorothy was exposed to the subject of Tuberculosis when John Richard Green, husband of Dorothy's aunt, Alice Stopford Green, died from the condition. She also attended a Tuberculosis Day in Walworth after being invited there by Mrs Anstruther, a social worker friend of Alice Stopford Green. In 1923, she returned to Dublin and began work in Saint Ultan's Children's Hospital, Dublin as a visiting physician.[11] This was an honorary, unpaid position. Dorothy began to research and write about tuberculosis, particularly in the context of children. After a visit to Vienna, Austria, in 1931, she began to use the tuberculin test to diagnose tuberculosis.[12] Dorothy was also interested in the controversial BCG vaccine which could protect against tuberculosis. Her work with tuberculin had shown that many Irish adolescents from rural areas were tuberculin negative and vulnerable to contracting tuberculosis. She was anxious that Irish emigrants, including young Irish nurses and nurse trainees, would be vaccinated.[13] In 1949, Dorothy was appointed as the first chairperson of the Irish National BCG Committee. Dorothy learned German while working at St Ultan’s Hospital, in order translate and read German literature on TB. She took a post-graduate course in Scheidess before preparing a thesis on “The Diagnosis of Primary Tuberculosis in Children”. This thesis described modern continental theories and practices, and won her an MD. Dorothy began writing her book “Tuberculosis in Childhood” in 1937 and had 1000 copies of it produced by a Bristol-based publisher in 1939. She became a member for the Red Cross Anti-TB committee, but later resigned for political reasons. Dorothy was recognised for her work when Health Minister Noel Browne appointed her as Chairman of a Consultative Council on TB. They eventually managed to open a BCG vaccination unit in St Ultan’s Hospital.[14] Dorothy Stopford Price's research and publications, her work on voluntary national committees and her continuous highlighting of the problem of tuberculosis in Ireland as well as her efforts to introduce tuberculin testing and BCG vaccination were pivotal in the ending of the Irish tuberculosis epidemic in the mid-twentieth century.[15]

Personal life

Stopford married William George Price, who later became known as Liam Price. Price was a renowned barrister, district justice and local historian from Wicklow. They became engaged in 1924, surprising many as Stopford was a Republican while Price was a Free-Stater. They were married on 8 January 1925 in St Ann's Church, Dawson Street in a small ceremony, with Dorothy's niece Mary Wordsworth acting as bridesmaid. The Price's firstly moved to a flat in Fitzwilliam Place, shortly before moving into a house a few doors down, Number Ten. Dorothy discovered she was unable to have children in 1926. Liam Price later compiled an account of his wife's fight against TB by 1955.[16][17] They lived in Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin.[18]

Death

Her workload may have contributed to an attack of muscular rheumatism in 1939. Price had a stoke in January 1950, which led to her relocating to 1 Herbert Park, Ballsbridge. She died after suffering another stroke on 28 January 1954, and was buried in St. Maelruen's graveyard in Tallaght.[19]

Legacy

V.M Synge has stated that "To her, more than anyone else, is due the credit of introducing into Ireland modern ideas of, and preventive measures against tuberculosis. Few of the many thousands of children and young people who have been saved from death or tedious illness by BCG realize what they owe to Dorothy Price"[20]

References

  1. The Dorothy Price Medal
  2. "Ireland's Greatest Woman Inventor finalist – Dorothy Stopford Price, tackling TB". Silicon Republic. 5 July 2013. 
  3. O'Broin, Leon, Protestant Nationalists in Revolutionary Ireland: the Stopford Connection. Dublin, Gill&MacMillan, 1985.
  4. Browne, O'Donel T.D. The Rotunda Hospital 1745–1945. Edinburgh, E&S Livingstone, 1947.
  5. Ogilvie, Marilyn; Harvey, Joy (2000). "Price, Dorothy (Stopford) (1890–1954)". The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: L-Z. New York: Routledge. p. 1054. ISBN 978-0-415-92040-7. 
  6. "The 1916 Diary of Dorothy Stopford Price". The 1916 Diary of Dorothy Stopford Price. Trinity College Dublin. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  7. O'Broin, Leon, Protestant Nationalists in Revolutionary Ireland: the Stopford Connection. Dublin, Gill&MacMillan, 1985.
  8. Mac Lellan, Anne. Dorothy Stopford Price: Rebel Doctor. Dublin, Irish Academic Press, 2014.
  9. O'Broin, Leon, Protestant Nationalists in Revolutionary Ireland: the Stopford Connection. Dublin, Gill&MacMillan, 1985.
  10. Price, Liam. Dorothy Price: An Account of Twenty Years' Fight against Tuberculosis in Ireland. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1957, for private circulation only.
  11. OhOgartaigh, Margaret. Dorothy Stopford Price and the Elimination of Childhood Tuberculosis, in OhOgartaigh, Margaret (ed.), Quiet Revolutionaries, Irish Women in Education, Sport and Medicine, 1861–1964. Dublin, The History Press Ireland, 2011
  12. Mac Lellan, Anne. The Penny Test: Tuberculin Testing and Paediatric Practice in Ireland, 1900–1960, in Mac Lellan, Anne and Mauger, Alice (eds.), Growing Pains: Childhood Illness in Ireland 1750–1950. Dublin, Irish Academic Press, 2013.
  13. Mac Lellan, Anne, Victim or Vector: Tubercular Irish Nurses in England 1930–1960, in Cox, Catherine and Marland, Hilary (eds.), Migration, Health and Ethnicity in the Modern World. Houndsmills, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
  14. O'Broin, Leon, Protestant Nationalists in Revolutionary Ireland: the Stopford Connection. Dublin, Gill&MacMillan, 1985.
  15. Mac Lellan, Anne. Dorothy Stopford Price: Rebel Doctor. Dublin, Irish Academic Press, 2014.
  16. O'Broin, Leon, Protestant Nationalists in Revolutionary Ireland: the Stopford Connection. Dublin, Gill&MacMillan, 1985.
  17. "Ireland's Greatest Woman Inventor finalist – Dorothy Stopford Price, tackling TB". Ireland's Greatest Woman Inventor finalist – Dorothy Stopford Price, tackling TB. Silicon Republic. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  18. "The 1916 Diary of Dorothy Stopford Price". The 1916 Diary of Dorothy Stopford Price. Trinity College Dublin. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  19. "The 1916 Diary of Dorothy Stopford Price". The 1916 Diary of Dorothy Stopford Price. Trinity College Dublin. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  20. Dr. Dorothy Price : an account of twenty years fight against tuberculosis in Ireland, by Liam Price, Oxford University Press, 1957.

External links