Dr Frances Oldham Kelsey: 20th-century American heroine for her role in the Thalidomide case

Frances Oldham Kelsey, F.D.A. stickler who saved U.S. babies from Thalidomide, dies at 101

Dr-Frances-Oldham-Kelsey
Dr Frances Oldham Kelsey, the Canadian doctor who played a central role in preventing the drug thalidomide being distributed in the US, has died at 101. Image of Kelsey with President John F. Kennedy signing the 1962 Drug Amendments (FDA051) by the The U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

A Londoner who’s kept the scourge of thalidomide out of the United States has died, leaving behind a legacy of achievement that made her a heroine south of the border.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy awarded Kelsey the highest honour given to a civilian in the U.S., the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service. Kelsey was only the second woman to receive the award. The new laws would pass and Kelsey would play a leading role giving them force.

Dr Frances Kelsey spent her final years here with family after a trail-blazing career that once led the Baltimore Post-Examiner to call her America’s greatest living heroine.

Sources and more information
  • Frances Oldham Kelsey, F.D.A. Stickler Who Saved U.S. Babies From Thalidomide,
    Dies at 101
    , NYtimes, AUG. 7, 2015.
  • Frances Oldham Kelsey – a true American hero turns 100,
    Baltimore Post-Examiner, July 26, 2014.
  • America’s Greatest Living Heroine Frances Oldham Kelsey – 98 and forgotten,
    Baltimore Post-Examiner, February 11, 2013.
  • Thalidomide and the 1962 Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendments, FDA.
  • About the life and work of Dr. Kelsey: Autobiographical Reflections, FDA.

Author: DES Daughter

Activist, blogger and social media addict committed to shedding light on a global health scandal and dedicated to raise DES awareness.

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