Étienne Stéphane Tarnier
Physician, Deceased Person
1828 – 1897
Who was Étienne Stéphane Tarnier?
He studied and practiced medicine in Paris, and is often considered as doyen of French obstetrics during the second half of the nineteenth century. Some of his better-known assistants were obstetricians Pierre-Constant Budin, Pierre-Victor-Adolphe Auvard and Adolphe Pinard.
Tarnier is remembered for his work involving the perinatal aspects of obstetrics, and particularly treatment of premature infants. In the 1870s he realized that keeping a constant temperature was not sufficient for a premature infant's survival. He believed that isolation, hygiene, appropriate feeding, and a warm, humid environment were also necessary. Inspired by a device used to incubate poultry, Tarnier introduced prototypes of infant incubators to the Paris Maternité in 1881. These devices were basically wooden boxes with glass lids and compartments that contained hot-water bottles. He called his "baby-warming device" a "couveuse", and through it Tarnier was responsible for a 28% decrease in infant mortality over a three-year period at the Paris Maternité.
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