Phototherapy
Discoverer
Discoverer Richard Cremer
Richard Cremer
Born4 January 1925
Blean
Died25 January 2014 | Age 89
Carshalton

Richard Cremer 1956


Dr Cremer , with the help of Sister J Ward, discovered that sunlight could cure jaundice at the Rochford General Hospital in Essex.


Sister Ward

Ward was an old school nurse who was convinced sunshine and fresh air was more healthy than a stuffy hospital.
One warm summer day in the 1950s Sister J Ward took a premature baby outside. When she returned to the unit, the baby was a pale yellow except for a small bright yellow section which had been covered up by the baby’s sheet. The nurse suggested it had been caused by the sun, but her suggestion was not taken very seriously.

Sister Ward
Sister Ward

A short while after this incident a tube of blood from an infant with severe jaundice was placed on a windowsill before being taken to the lab for analysis. After sitting in the sun, the sample measurements were below 14 mg/100 mL so a fresh blood sample was taken and analyzed which read 24 mg/100 mL. The blood sitting on the windowsill was measured again, and read even lower, at 9 mg/100 mL.

This was able to be reproduced again and again and caused researchers to investigate the effect of light on bilirubin.

Modern Treatment

Babies being treated with phototherapy
Babies being treated with phototherapy


It was found that the blue light (420-470 nm) converts bilirubin into a form that the body can excrete in the urine and faeces.
Phototherapy for jaundiced babies, is now used in almost every hospital in the world, resulting from a simple observation by Cremer in 1956 aided by Sister Ward. It is widely acknowledged as one of the major 20th century advances in paediatrics.
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In History
  • 18 February 1871.
    On this day 148 years ago Harry Brearley was born
  • 06 February 1804.
    This month 215 years ago the world lost Joseph Priestley
  • 10 February 1912.
    This month 107 years ago the world lost Joseph Lister
  • CT Scan. 100 years ago 28 August 1919 Godfrey Hounsfield was born
  • 16 February 1834.
    This month 185 years ago the world lost Lionel Lukin
  • 05 February 1790.
    This month 229 years ago the world lost William Cullen
  • 21 February 1741.
    This month 277 years ago the world lost Jethro Tull
  • 19 February 1927.
    This month 91 years ago the world lost Herbert Akroyd Stuart
  • 08 February 2017.
    This month 2 years ago the world lost Peter Mansfield
  • 17 February 2011.
    This month 8 years ago the world lost Ron Hickman
  • 14 February 1779.
    This month 240 years ago the world lost Captain Cook
  • 26 February 1884.
    This month 134 years ago the world lost Alexander Wood
  • 23 February 1965.
    This month 53 years ago the world lost Stan Laurel
Who Invented?
Who Discovered?
Who Created?
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