Julius Hess

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Julius Hess
Born(1876-01-26)January 26, 1876
DiedNovember 2, 1955(1955-11-02) (aged 79)
EducationNorthwestern University Medical School
Clara E. Merrifield
(m. 1902)
Medical career
InstitutionsRush Medical College
Northwestern University Medical School
University of Illinois College of Medicine

Julius H. Hess (January 26, 1876 – November 2, 1955) was an American physician who is often considered the father of American neonatology. In 1922, he published the first textbook focused on the care of prematurity and birth defects in infants. That same year, Hess and nurse Evelyn Lundeen created the first premature infant station in the United States, recognizing the importance of nursing care and temperature management in the care of preterm babies. Hess also made early contributions to the transport of such infants to specialty centers.


Early life[edit]

Hess was born on January 26, 1876, in Ottawa, Illinois.[1][2] He graduated from Northwestern University Medical School, remained in Chicago for an internship, then went to Johns Hopkins University for more training.[3] He married Clara E. Merrifield on April 15, 1902, and they had two children.[1][2]


Working at Michael Reese Hospital, Hess created a form of infant incubator in 1914, then invented an incubator designed for the transport of infants in 1922. By 1934, the Hess incubator was also capable of oxygen administration.[4] Hess created the first premature infant nursery, where he worked with nurse Evelyn Lundeen to optimize care for preterm infants. Around that time, pediatricians had just become involved in the delivery room and nursery care of newborns.[5] Hess and Lundeen focused on providing minimal stimulation and managing the temperature of premature babies.[6]

Later life[edit]

Hess remained in practice as a physician until his death. He died suddenly while visiting his daughter in Los Angeles on November 2, 1955.[2][3]



  1. ^ a b History of Medicine and Surgery, and Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago. Chicago: The Biographical Publishing Corporation. 1922. p. 578. Retrieved April 19, 2024 – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ a b c "Dr. Hess Dies; Famed Pioneer in Pediatrics". Chicago Tribune. November 3, 1955. p. 40. Retrieved April 19, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ a b Dunn, Peter (2001). "Perinatal Lessons from the Past: Julius Hess, MD, (1876–1955) and the premature infant". Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition. 85 (2): F141–F144. doi:10.1136/fn.85.2.f141. PMC 1721308. PMID 11517212.
  4. ^ "Guide to the Julius Hays Hess Papers 1843-1958". University of Chicago. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  5. ^ Elzouki, Abdelaziz, ed. (2012). Textbook of Clinical Pediatrics (2nd Ed.). Springer Publishing. p. 85. ISBN 978-3642022012.
  6. ^ Yu, V.; Feng, Z.; Tsang, R.; Yeung, C. (1996). Textbook of Neonatal Medicine: A Chinese Perspective. Hong Kong University Press. p. 4. ISBN 9622094287.