The Strange Case of Dr. Couney
The extraordinary tale of how a mysterious immigrant "doctor" became the revolutionary innovator of saving premature babies--by placing them in incubators in World's Fair side shows and on Coney Island and Atlantic City. What kind of doctor puts his patients on display?As Dawn Raffel artfully recounts, Dr. Couney figured out he could use incubators and careful nursing to keep previously doomed infants alive, and at the same time make good money displaying these babies alongside sword swallowers, bearded ladies, and burlesque shows. How this turn-of-the-twentieth-century emigre became the savior to families with premature infants, known then as "weaklings"--while ignoring the scorn of the medical establishment and fighting the climate of eugenics--is one of the most astounding stories of modern medicine. And as readers will find, Dr. Couney, for all his opportunistic entrepreneurial gusto, is a surprisingly appealing character, someone who genuinely cared for the well-being of his tiny patients. But he had something to hide.Drawing on historical documents, original reportage, and interviews with surviving patients, acclaimed journalist and magazine editor Dawn Raffel tells the marvelously eccentric story of Couney's mysterious carnival career, his larger-than-life personality, and his unprecedented success as the savior of tiny babies.

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney Details

TitleThe Strange Case of Dr. Couney
Author
ReleaseJul 31st, 2018
PublisherBlue Rider Press
ISBN-139780399175749
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History, Medical

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney Review

  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Dr. Martin Couney, who apparently had not received any official medical training, ran his incubators for premature babies as a side show at several fairs across the country, including Coney Island. His wife Maye and another trained nurse, Louise, helped to care for the infants, whom the hospitals had either given up on or were unable to accommodate. He claimed the survival rate of these preemies was 85%, far exceeding that of the hospitals of the time; there were even reunions held for the adult Dr. Martin Couney, who apparently had not received any official medical training, ran his incubators for premature babies as a side show at several fairs across the country, including Coney Island. His wife Maye and another trained nurse, Louise, helped to care for the infants, whom the hospitals had either given up on or were unable to accommodate. He claimed the survival rate of these preemies was 85%, far exceeding that of the hospitals of the time; there were even reunions held for the adults who had been saved as infants by this unusual man.
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  • Daisy Hickman
    January 1, 1970
    Anxiously awaiting the July 31st release of Dawn Raffel's new book! From her prior work, I'm certain it will be extremely well written and intriguing. The title and cover are exceptional.
  • Deanne
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the book and was amazed that I had never heard about this case. Dr. Couney saved hundreds of premature babies, who otherwise would have died. Putting them on display at Coney Island and other places, he kept them safe and did what hospitals couldn't or wouldn't do at the time. Amazing read.
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  • Dawn Raffel
    January 1, 1970
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