- A dictionary of medical eponyms

John Patrick Caffey

Born  1895-03-30
Died  1978

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American paediatrician, born March 30, 1895, Castle Gate, Utah; died september 1978, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Biography of John Patrick Caffey

John Patrick Caffey was born in 1895, the year Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845-1923) discovered the x-rays. Caffey graduated in medicine at the University of Michigan in 1919, and served his internship at the Barnes Hospital, St. Louis. In 1920 he went to Warsaw in 1920 with the American Red Cross in Poland and Russia, but contracted typhus. Immense medical problems had arisen in these countries following World War I, and it was the lack of medical care for children that made him remain in Europe for three years after the convalescence, working with the Hoover Commission in Russia.

After returning to the USA, Caffey became chief resident at the University Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He then worked for a short period of time at the Babie’s Hospital in Columbia University, New York, before he went into private practice in New York. In 1929 he was appointed to the new Babie’s Hospital where he was assigned to take charge of radiology as the hospital's first in-house roentgenologist.

In 1950 he became professor of clinical paediatrics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, and four years later was appointed professor of radiology.

After his compulsory retirement in 1960 he became emeritus of radiology. Caffey had no intentions of leaving his work, however, and became visiting professor of paediatrics and radiology at the Children’s Hospital, University of Pittsburgh. He continued working until the day of his death in September 1978, at the age of 83 years.

    "I wouldn’t believe it even if you proved it to me!"

    «Shadows are but dark holes in radiant streams, twisted rifts beyond the substance, meaningless in themselves. He who would comprehend Röntgen's pallid shades, needs always know well the solid matrix whence they spring.»
    Paediatric X-ray diagnosis


  • Paediatric X-ray diagnosis.
    1945. 2nd edition, 1950. 3rd edition, 1956. 7 editions.
    This book was a major step toward establishing paediatric radiology as a discipline within both paediatrics and radiology
  • Multiple Fractures in the Long Bones of Infants Suffering From Chronic Subdural Hematoma.
    American Journal of Roentgenology, Leesburg, Virginia, 1946, 56:167.
  • The Whiplash Shaken Infant Syndrome.
    Pediatrics, Evanston, Illinois, 1974, 54:396. Obituary:
  • American Journal of Roentgenology, Leesburg, Virginia, 1979, 132: 149.
  • Clinical Radiology, Edinburgh, 1979, 30: 239.

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