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February 23, 1979

Neurologist H. Houston Merritt is dead

JAMA. 1979;241(8):784. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290340010003

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Hiram Houston Merritt, MD, codeveloper of the antiepilepsy drug phenytoin (Dilantin), died of cerebrovascular disease at the Neurological Institute of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York on Jan 9. He was 78 years old.

Merritt, a former dean of Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons and editor of the American Medical Association's Archives of Neurology from 1962 to 1971, perhaps will best be remembered as a pioneer neurologist who helped to establish neurology as an independent specialty.

Born on Jan 12, 1902, in Wilmington, NC, Merritt received his medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1926. He took his internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut and then specialized in neurology at the Boston City Hospital. Later he studied at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Munich, Germany, where his training was in the pathology of brain and CNS diseases.

In 1944 Merritt accepted the position