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Publication Detail
Judith Balkányi-Lepintre (1912-1982): first woman neurosurgeon, first woman war neurosurgeon, and first woman pediatric neurosurgeon in France.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Hariz M, Eröss L, Hariz G-M, Eröss B, Cif L, Blomstedt P, Agid Y
  • Publication date:
    29/10/2021
  • Pagination:
    1, 5
  • Journal:
    J Neurosurg
  • Status:
    Published online
  • Country:
    United States
  • PII:
    2021.7.JNS211035
  • Language:
    eng
  • Keywords:
    Judith Balkányi-Lepintre, history, pediatric neurosurgery, war neurosurgery, women neurosurgeons
Abstract
Recently, a series of historical reports portrayed the first women neurosurgeons in various countries. One such woman, a pioneer on many levels, remained unrecognized: Judith Balkányi-Lepintre. She was the first woman neurosurgeon in France, the first woman war neurosurgeon for the French Army, and the first woman pediatric neurosurgeon in France. Born in 1912 to a Hungarian Jewish family, she graduated with honors from medical school in Budapest in 1935, then moved to Paris where she started neurosurgical training in 1937 at L'Hôpital de la Pitié under the mentorship of Clovis Vincent, the founder of French neurosurgery. Shortly after marrying a French colleague in 1940, she had to escape the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) in Paris and ended up in Algeria, where she joined the French Army of De Gaulle. As a neurosurgeon, she participated in the campaigns of Italy and France between 1943 and 1945. After the war, she returned to work at La Pitié Hospital. In 1947, she defended her doctoral thesis, "Treatment of cranio-cerebral wounds by projectiles and their early complications." Soon thereafter, she joined Europe's first dedicated children's hospital, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades in Paris, and contributed to the establishment of pediatric neurosurgery in France. She remained clinically and academically active at Necker until her death in 1982 but was never promoted.
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