- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 25, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) — Dr. Catherine A. Neill, a pioneering pediatric cardiologist, died at age 84 in her native England, Johns Hopkins University announced Friday.

In 1960, Dr. Neill was the first to recognize and name “scimitar syndrome,” an abnormality affecting veins leading from the right lung.

“Catherine Neill was one of the original leaders in pediatric cardiology at Johns Hopkins,” said Dr. George J. Dover, pediatrician-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. “She was a dedicated physician who helped change medicine.”

Dr. Neill also worked closely with Dr. Helen Taussig, a cardiologist who led the Johns Hopkins “blue baby” team that pioneered an open-heart surgery technique to repair congenital heart defects in infants.

She spent five decades at Johns Hopkins as a teacher, serving as interim director of the division of pediatric cardiology after Dr. Taussig’s retirement in 1963, and as a teacher and adviser to generations of young pediatricians.

“Catherine Neill was a generous friend and mentor,” said Dr. Peter C. Rowe, a professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins and a family friend since his childhood, “but none of us really knew how generous she was to others because she kept quiet about any altruistic endeavors she undertook inside or outside of the hospital, never wanting to draw attention to herself or to her good works, of which there were many.”

Dr. Neill, who taught and practiced medicine well into her 70s, retired in 1993, but remained actively involved with the hospital.

Born and raised in England, Dr. Neill received her medical degree from the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in London. She was a pediatric cardiology fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto from 1950 to 1951 and trained under Dr. Taussig in Baltimore from 1951 to 1954.

She worked at Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children in London for two years before she returned to Johns Hopkins in 1956.

Dr. Neill is survived by three brothers, Brian Neill of London; Patrick Neill of Dorset, England; and Desmond Neill of Toronto.

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