Dr Maxwell Myer Wintrobe
-December 9 1986
) was a Canadian
-born physician who was a 20th century authority in the medical field of hematology
. His textbook on hematology was the first dedicated work in the field, and he contributed to the diagnosic approach of anemia
metabolism, amongst many other achievements.
Wintrobe was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia
to a Jewish
family of Austrian
origin, and attended the University of Manitoba
from the early age of fifteen, where he graduated in 1921 and obtained his M.D.
in 1926. He married Becky Zamphir, and moved to the United States
, where he obtained a PhD
at Tulane University
in New Orleans, Louisiana
in 1929 (titled "The Erythrocyte in Man").
Initially working in Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he served on the faculty, he was appointed as professor of internal medicine at the College of Medicine of the University of Utah in 1943; he also served as the first Chairman of the Department of Medicine and physician-in-chief for the Salt Lake County General Hospital.
In Salt Lake City he led research in hereditary and metabolic disorders (1945-1973) and cardiovascular research (1969-1973). He retired officially in 1965, but remained in function until 1973 (Valentine 1990). In that year he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
In New Orleans, Wintrobe pioneered new ways of measuring the hematocrit
, including what are now known as Wintrobe indices: mean cell volume
, mean cell hemoglobin
, and mean cell hemoglobin concentration
, all quantitative measures of the red blood cell
population (Wintrobe 1932). Much of this work continued in Hopkins and Utah, where he also worked on pernicious anemia
metabolism and Wilson's disease
, sickle-cell disease
and other anemias
Wintrobe was the principal editor of Clinical Hematology, which first appeared in 1942 and is in its eleventh edition (Greer et al 2003), still bearing his name. He was part of the team that pioneered the use of chemotherapy in cancer (Goodman et al 1946). He was one of the editors of the first edition (1950) of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine.
In 1980 he published Blood, pure and eloquent, and in 1985 appeared Hematology, the Blossoming of a Science. Both works are historical overviews of his field.
- Goodman LS, Wintrobe MM, Dameshek W, Goodman MJ, Gilman A and McLennan MT. Nitrogen mustard therapy. Use of methyl-bis(beta-chloroethyl)amine hydrochloride and tris(beta-chloroethyl)amine hydrochloride for Hodgkin's disease, lymphosarcoma, leukemia, and certain allied and miscellaneous disorders. J Am Med Assoc 1946;105:475-476. Reprinted in JAMA 1984;251:2255-61. PMID 6368885.
- Greer JP, Foerster J, Lukens JN. Wintrobe's Clinical Hematology, 11th edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2003. ISBN 0-7817-3650-1.
- Valentine WN. Maxwell Myer Wintrobe. In "Biographical Memoirs". National Academy of Sciences 1990;59:446-472. ISBN 0-309-04198-8. Fulltext
- Wintrobe MM. The size and hemoglobin content of the erythrocyte. J Lab Clin Med 1932;17:899-911. Reprinted in J Lab Clin Med 1990;115:374-87. PMID 2179436.
- Wintrobe MM. Blood, pure and eloquent; a story of discovery, of people and ideas. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980. ISBN 0-07-071135-6.
- Wintrobe MM. Hematology, the Blossoming of a Science: A Story of Inspiration and Effort. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1985. ISBN 0-8121-0961-9.