- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Kaare Kristian Nygaard

Born  1903
Died  1989

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Norwegian-American physician, born November 24, 1903, Lillehammer, Norway; died April 22, 1989, Scarsdale, New York.

Biography of Kaare Kristian Nygaard

Kaare Kristian Nygaard was born in Lillehammer, Norway. His parents were Johann Nygaard, a merchant, and his wife Emilie, a midwife. He received his M.D. degree cum laude from the University of Oslo and practiced briefly in Norway before he emigrated and settled in the United States in 1930. He began study and research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he was an assistant surgeon from 1931 to 1940. From 1937 he was also a lecturer in surgery at the University of Oslo.

In 1940, Nygaard began a large surgical practice in White Plains Hospital, New York. During World War II, he established a special hospital ward that cared for more than 4,000 sick or injured Norwegian sailors. In recognition of his extraordinary service, he was honoured with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of St. Olav, First Class, by King Haakon VII.

Dr. Nygaard had a life-long interest in the visual arts, especially sculpture. He won the first prize at the International Physicians Art Exhibit in Washington in 1968, and in 1971 he won the United Nations contest for design of a stamp commemorating the Year of the Refugees. In addition, he served as associate professor and artist in residence for sculpture at the State University of New York in Purchase.

Nygaard was a personal friend and physician to Percy Grainger, Alexander Calder, and Marcel Duchamp. He was also a confidant of Trygve Lie, the first Secretary of the United Nations.

In 1933 he married Ella Frey, who died in 1976. In 1988 he married Gail Delgado. Kaare Kristian Nygaard is buried in Lillehammer – Olympic city of 1994.

We thank Gail D. Nygaard for information submitted. In a letter to whonamedit.com she writes:

    I established The Kaare K. Nygaard travel Award at Mayo Clinic where Kaare trained to be given out to those outstanding young surgeons who represented the high moral values and supreme medicine of the Clinic and those of my husband.

    My husband was a truly remarkable man, a true Renaissance man.


  • Hemorrhagic Diseases: Photo-electric study of Blood Coagulability.
    St. Louis, C. V. Mosby Company, 1941.
  • Knife, Life and Bronzes. 1986.

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