Grace Neitzer, who died in Memphis on April 4, 2002 had a 40-year career as a blood banker, and was technical director of the blood bank at Baptist
Memorial Hospital for the last 15 years of her professional life. Her international reputation as a leader in establishing quality standards and procedures in the field led to her election as president of the American Association of Blood Banks, the world's largest organization devoted to transfusion medicine, and her receipt of the distinguished service medal of that professional organization.
Neitzer died from chronic hepatitis C, contracted as the result of an unrecognized laboratory accident when she was working with a blood specimen. How ironic that this gracious woman, who dedicated her life to providing a safe and reliable blood supply for the sick and injured of the Mid-South and the nation, should give up her life to a disease contracted through life-sustaining blood. Her passing reminds us of Sister Constance and the other Martyrs of Memphis (memorialized at St. Mary's Cathedral) who gave their lives nursing the sick in the Memphis yellow fever epidemic of 1878.
Thomas M. Chesney, M.D.
Director of Laboratories
Baptist Memorial Hospital
(pictured left/right Lisa Edwards, Eileen Ricker)