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October 1, 1982

Edith Potter, MD, PhD: pioneering infant pathology

JAMA. 1982;248(13):1551-1553. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330130011004

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Finding Edith Potter, MD, PhD, the "mother of perinatal pathology," is not easy. You board a tenpassenger propeller-driven plane at the Tampa—St Petersburg airport, fly to Fort Myers, then drive past motels, fast-food chains, factory outlets, and supermarkets. Finally, a sharp left and a quick right, and "Palm Pointe Gardens" reads a bronze plaque on two stone posts guarding a hidden road.

Suddenly you're in a tropical paradise. Bronze and terra-cotta figures, Narcissus-like, watch their reflections in a freshwater spring, or gaze out at a meandering estuary of the Gulf of Mexico. Following the narrow dirt road, heavy with vegetation, you park by a glass-roofed orchid house.

Can this unlikely place be Potter's abode?

Yes, there she is, waving from the steps of her stucco house built for "retirement" in 1967. Wearing a blue denim sundress almost the color of her slate-blue eyes (analytic behind blue-rimmed glasses), she shows you