We were sorrowed by the loss of Dr. Harold Abramson, our distinguished colleague and pediatrician, who died on October 13, 1974, at the age of 75, survived by his beloved wife, Lucille.
He was a graduate of Columbia University, where he obtained a bachelor of arts degree, followed by his doctorate in medicine in 1924 and subsequently a master's degree in psychology in 1932.
Dr. Abramson was unique in combining a career in clinical pediatrics with public health and research, in all of which he excelled. In addition to his scientific attainments, Harold was accomplished in music and the arts. He was a fine violinist as well as artist and sculptor, and he was skilled in cabinetmaking, designing, and architectural planning. Withal he was a modest and unassuming man, as are most truly great people. Dedicated to his work whatever the endeavor, he set high standards for himself and inspired others who worked with him.
In the late 1930s, Dr. Abramson pioneered in research on outbreaks of epidemic diarrhea among the newborn, which had become a major problem in hospital nurseries all over the country. In conjunction with Dr. Harold Frant, of the New York City Department of Health, he conducted investigations, made numerous significant studies, and issued reports and publications on this subject. Based on these reports, he instituted recommendations for changes in hospital procedures to effect a control of epidemic diarrhea of the newborn. As epidemiologist in charge of the Division of Maternity and Newborn Services of the Bureau of Preventable Diseases in the New York City Department of Health from 1936 to 1954, he was successful in achieving a significant reduction in the number and intensity of outbreaks of infection in hospital maternity and newborn services. His work received nationwide attention and acclaim.
Following his tenure in the health department, Dr. Abramson became project director at Metropolitan Hospital. He was engaged in a collaborative study on perinatal care sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and was the full-time director of maternal and child health at New York Medical College from 1957 to 1968.
For many years, Dr. Abramson served as an active member of the Committee on Infant Mortality of the New York County Medical Society and made numerous important contributions. He became chairman of this committee in 1961 and served in this capacity for the remaining years of his life. Through his efforts, the Infant Mortality Committee developed an outstanding reputation. His devotion to its aims served as a stimulus and attracted distinguished obstetricians, pediatricians, and pediatric pathologists to serve on the committee.
Despite a full schedule including his clinical practice, he found time to publish over 66 articles and was the editor of a textbook on resuscitation of the newborn, originally published in I960, which he subsequently edited in revised, updated issues. The book has become a classic, with a wide circulation both nationally and internationally. He also planned and conducted a number of symposiums in pediatrics that have been published.
Harold Abramson, by virtue of his own dedication and spirit, instilled in those who knew and worked with him an earnest desire to carry on his good deeds and further his goals. In so doing, they honor and perpetuate the memory of this outstanding physician and fine human being.