On November 27, you might have noticed the special doodle on top search engine Google. That was a tribute to Fe del Mundo for her 107th birth anniversary. Del Mundo was a Filipina physician who dedicated her life to children in her eight decades of existence.
Born in Manila on this day in 1911, she was inspired to study medicine by her older sister who did not herself live to realize her dream of becoming a doctor. Also known as “The Angel of Santo Tomas,” del Mundo devoted her life to child healthcare and revolutionized pediatric medicine in the process.
A gifted student, she became the first woman, and the only woman at that time, to be admitted to Harvard Medical School. After completing her studies in the U.S., she came home to the Philippines and set up a hospice where she treated more than 400 children and later became director of a government hospital. She eventually financed the first pediatric hospital in the Philippines, selling her house and belongings in the process. Del Mundo lived on the second floor of the Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City, making early morning rounds until she was 99 years old, even in a wheelchair.
When she wasn’t treating patients, she was teaching students, publishing important research in medical journals, and authoring a definitive ‘Textbook of Pediatrics.’ She established the Institute of Maternal and Child Health to train doctors and nurses, and became the first woman to be conferred the title National Scientist of the Philippines and received many awards for her outstanding service to humankind.