P&S Journal: Winter 1995, Vol.15, No.1
L. Stanley James, M.D.
Dr. L. Stanley James, widely considered one of the founders of modern perinatology and a pioneering researcher in the physiology of newborn infants for 30 years, died Aug. 4, 1994, while vacationing at Center Harbor, N.H. He was 69 and lived in West Redding, Conn. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.
Dr. James was professor emeritus of pediatrics and of obstetrics and gynecology.
His research on the condition of newborn infants and the fetus saved the lives of thousands of children. His identification of key factors that adversely influence newborns, such as acidosis of birth asphyxia and the pulmonary and arterial changes at birth, helped improve the care of newborns, specifically resuscitation and management of asphyxiation. After Dr. Virginia Apgar developed the Apgar score, a widely used system to assess infant condition following delivery, Dr. James conducted research with Dr. Apgar that established a scientific basis for the score. Their research also showed the score could be used to evaluate different methods of newborn resuscitation.
A native of Te Awamutu, New Zealand, Dr. James received a medical degree from Otago Medical School in New Zealand in 1948. After his internship and residency in pediatrics and obstetrics at Auckland Hospital, he spent a year in general practice.
Following a residency in pediatrics at Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, he became chief resident in pediatrics at New York University Bellevue Medical Center in New York City.
Dr. James' interest in neonatology, the field concerned with the developing fetus, the birth process, and the postnatal period, was sparked by Dr. Apgar, who spoke at Bellevue about her work in neonate resuscitation and obstetrical anesthesia. After meeting her, Dr. James, who had planned to stay in New York only a year, changed his plans and remained in New York to research resuscitation of the newborn.
After a year as a research fellow in neonatology with Dr. Richard Day at State University of New York, he joined Dr. Apgar at Columbia as a research assistant in neonatal physiology in anesthesiology from 1955 to 1959, when he became assistant professor of pediatrics. From 1961 to 1965 he was assistant attending pediatrician at Babies Hospital.
In 1967 he was promoted to professor of pediatrics assigned to anesthesiology and attending pediatrician. He became director of the perinatal medicine division in 1972 and was named professor of obstetrics and gynecology in 1976. He retired from P&S in December 1992.
Dr. James received the E. Mead Johnson Award and the Virginia Apgar Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Ronald McDonald Children's Charities award for his contributions to the care of the fetus and newborn infants. He is survived by a brother, David, of Melbourne, Australia.