Jean Emily Henley

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Jean Emily Henley (December 3, 1910 in Chicago, Illinois – August 19, 1994 in Shelburne Vermont) was an anesthesiologist. She was the only child of Eugene Henry and Helen Esther Heller (maiden name: Goodman), who emigrated from Hungary and Germany respectively into the United States. The father changed the name into Henley while she was a child. Both parents practiced lay psychotherapy and later obtained PhDs.[citation needed]

After graduation from high school, she obtained her BA degree at Vassar College and Barnard College and went from March 1930 – 1932 to Paris in order to study sculpture. In New York she studied medicine starting 1936 and graduated 1940 at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. She started a residency in internal medicine in San Francisco, then at New York Hospital and completed her training at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. In 1944 she voluntarily joined the army and became a captain in those 27 months. On March 1, 1947 she began her residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, that she completed March 1949. Instead of becoming a faculty member at Columbia, she travelled to Switzerland and took up an invitation from Maria Daelen to come to Wiesbaden. Initially she wanted to visit Germany just for a few days (her visa was valid for ten days), but eventually she stayed there for two years. She was a visiting physician in Gießen, Frankfurt, Marburg, Wiesbaden, Tübingen, Berlin, Heidenheim, Hamburg and Heidelberg. She used anesthesia machines from the US Army and developed her own machine.[citation needed]

She is less known in her home country than in Germany. In 1950 she wrote the first anesthesia textbook published after World War II in Germany: Einführung in die Praxis der modernen Inhalationsnarkose. de Gruyter Verlag, Berlin. It had thirteen editions until 1991 with a circulation of more than 15 000. She introduced practices that are still in use today: For example she included on the back of the anesthesia chart an extensive and detailed check-list for both preoperative assessment and postoperative complications.

Upon her return to the United States she became chair and associate professor at the Francis Delafield Hospital in New York until her retirement 1972.

On September 18, 1981 she became an honorary member of the German Society of Anesthesiology and Intensive care Medicine (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Anästhesiologie und Intensivmedizin, DGAI).

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