- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 3, 2008

Mary Engle, 86, cardiology pioneer

EASTON, Md. (AP) — Dr. Mary Engle, who established the division of pediatric cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, died Jan. 27 at her home, the hospital announced. She was 86.

Dr. Engle was a pioneer in the field, serving for 30 years as the first director of pediatric cardiology at what is now known as New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. She was instrumental in creating the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, which was later named in her honor.

While a medical student at Johns Hopkins, she was chosen to serve on the pediatrics house staff and took part in the renowned “blue baby” operation in 1942, the first to repair a type of defect that restricted blood from reaching the lungs and turned the skin of infants bluish.

The operation prompted her to become a pediatric cardiologist, and she completed one of the first pediatric cardiology fellowships under Dr. Helen Taussig, one of the “blue baby” operation surgeons.

Born in 1922 in Madill, Okla., as Mary Allen English, she grew up in Dallas. She graduated first in her class at Baylor University and later attended the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she met her husband, Dr. Ralph Landis Engle Jr.

During her career, she helped establish pediatric cardiology as the first subspecialty section within the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1957 and is credited with many research breakthroughs involving pediatric heart defects.

She also was a medical ambassador, traveling to China as part of a team of eight cardiologists in 1977 after the death of Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

Her husband served as a hematologist on the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell faculty until his death in 2000. She is survived by her daughter, Marilyn Elizabeth Engle, and two grandchildren.

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