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Olive Louise Berger was born in Montclair, New Jersey. She graduated from the School of Nursing at Roosevelt Hospital in New York in 1920 and from the Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Anesthesiology in 1922. She was chief nurse anesthetist and director of the anesthesia school for nurses at the Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1931 until her retirement in 1969. Berger served as the first nurse to administer anesthesia during the famous “blue baby” operations performed by Alfred Blalock and Helen Taussig in the 1940s. In 1952, she was made an instructor in anesthesia in the school of medicine.

Scope and Content

The Olive Louise Berger Collection focuses on her career as a nurse anesthetist at Johns Hopkins. It consists of detailed records of the administration of anesthesia to Alfred Blalock’s patients, including three notebooks labeled: “Tetralogies,” “Valvulotomies,” and “P.O. Pneumonia.” The notebooks describe early cases of cardiac surgery, including the first cases of surgical treatment of cyanotic congenital heart disease, and the first lung and mitral valve operation performed at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Also included are articles by Berger, a letter of recommendation written on Berger’s behalf by Thomas Cullen, and material concerning the Olive L. Berger Memorial Fund.

Catalog Record

Additional Links

Web exhibit on the “blue baby” operation

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