Mourning the death of Dr. Doris L. Wethers, visionary physician, tireless advocate, and devoted member of her community

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Senate Resolution No. 532

BY: Senator MAYER

MOURNING the death of Dr. Doris L. Wethers,
visionary physician, tireless advocate, and devoted
member of her community

WHEREAS, It is incumbent upon the people of the State of New York to
commend and recognize those esteemed individuals within the medical
community for their extraordinary and sustained contributions to the
progress of medicine and the improvement of life; and

WHEREAS, It is with great sorrow and deep regret that this
Legislative Body records the passing of Dr. Doris L. Wethers, noting the
significance of her purposeful life and accomplishments; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Doris L. Wethers, of the neighborhood of Hudson Heights
in Manhattan, New York, died on Monday, January 28, 2019, at the age of
91; and

WHEREAS, Doris Louise Wethers was born to Dr. William and Lillian
(Wilkinson) Wethers on December 14, 1927, in Passaic, New Jersey; after
her parents' divorce, she and her mother and sister moved to Washington
Heights in Manhattan; and

WHEREAS, After graduating from George Washington High School, Doris
L. Wethers earned her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from
Queens College; in 1952, she became the third black woman to receive her
Doctor of Medicine degree from the Yale School of Medicine; and

WHEREAS, For the next decade, Dr. Doris L. Wethers practiced private
medicine in pediatrics in an office next to her father's; in 1958, she
became the first black attending physician at Saint Luke's Hospital; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Doris L. Wethers then held the title of Medical
Director for Speedwell Services for Children from 1961-1973, and as
Director of Pediatrics and founder of sickle cell anemia programs at
Knickerbocker Hospital (1965-1973), Sydenham Hospital (1969-1974), and
St. Luke's Hospital Center (1974-1979); and

WHEREAS, In this capacity, Dr. Doris L. Wethers conducted research
and helped draft landmark legislation in New York to require screening
of infants for the disorder; in 1999, she officially retired as Director
of Saint Luke's sickle cell program; and

WHEREAS, Through her steadfast efforts, the average life expectancy
of children born with sickle cell anemia grew from about 18 to 50; the
increase was attributed largely to early detection, infection prevention
through the use of penicillin and other breakthroughs that helped
mitigate pain and prolong life; and

WHEREAS, In 1987, Dr. Doris L. Wethers was named the Chairwoman of a
National Institutes of Health panel which recommended routine testing
for newborn babies regardless of race or ethnicity; she also helped
establish the Foundation for Research and Education in Sickle Cell
Disease; and

WHEREAS, In addition to her monumental work for several New York
City hospitals, Dr. Doris L. Wethers was also a clinical professor at
what is now known as the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons of
Columbia University; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Doris L. Wethers always wanted to be a physician; she
lived an immensely beautiful life built on care, kindness, and respect,
touching the lives of so many people within her community; and

WHEREAS, Predeceased by her husband, Dr. Garvall H. Booker, Dr.
Doris L. Wethers is survived by her two devoted sons, Buddy and David
Boyd; and three treasured grandchildren, as well as numerous friends and
colleagues who will long cherish her memory; and

WHEREAS, As a leader in her profession, Dr. Doris L. Wethers proved
herself to be a great asset to medicine and to the health and welfare of
the citizens of the State of New York; and

WHEREAS, Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Doris L. Wethers
served her patients with compassion and care; she contributed to the
maintenance and enhancement of the highest professional standards,
sharing with others her knowledge and expertise, as well as her
dedication and commitment to quality health care; and

WHEREAS, Through her boundless energy and profound words of wisdom,
Dr. Doris L. Wethers' legacy of true grace and infinite selflessness
and kindness, will shine on through her family's vivid and happy
memories; her shining light and strength will forever serve as a beacon
of love and hope for all who were privileged to have known and loved
such an amazing and dynamic woman; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
mourn the death of Dr. Doris L. Wethers, visionary physician, tireless
advocate, and devoted member of her community; and be it further

RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be
transmitted to the family of Dr. Doris L. Wethers.


  • 22 / Feb / 2019
  • 27 / Feb / 2019
  • 27 / Feb / 2019

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative


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