|Birth: ||Sep. 23, 1928|
|Death: ||Jan. 16, 2010|
Medical Pioneer. A pediatrician, he was responsible for the first large-scale mass innoculation program for polio, and possibly, for any disease, in the United States. Raised initially in Atlanta and later in Richmond where his father was a hospital administrator, he was a 1949 graduate of Emory University with a degree in history. After receiving his M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) in 1953, Dr. Hudgens trained in pediatrics then served as a US Navy Flight Surgeon. When he returned to Richmond and established his practice polio was still much feared despite the success of the Salk vaccine; in 1963 a decision was made to attempt the eradication of infantile paralysis using Dr. Albert Sabin's then-new oral vaccine. Richmond was selected as the test site and Dr. Hudgens was given complete charge; he arranged publicity, organized a network of schools, fire stations, and churches, recruited every available doctor and nurse to assist, and finally, with a police escort, met the plane carrying the serum. On December 8, 1963, 250,000 Richmonders were immunized; the experiment worked, as at Dr. Hudgens' death there had not been another case of polio within 50 miles of the city. Continuing his practice he organized the establishment of Chippenham Hospital during the early 1970s and was to serve as the facility's first chief of staff; he later was chief of pediatrics at Chippenham, Richmond, and St. Mary's Hospitals. Dr. Hudgens was associate professor of pediatrics at his alma mater and past president of the Virginia Association of Professions, the Richmond Pediatric Society, and the Antiquarian Society. He completed his professional career as chief of pediatrics at Kenner Army Health Clinic, Fort Lee, Virginia, from 1998 until 2009. Always a gentleman, he treated everybody with respect and had a wealth of stories about two generations of Virginia's elite. Dr. Hudgens died of cancer. Looking back at 1963 he said: "This is the one time I felt like I did something to help the world".
Thanks to Major Celia Murray, AN, for the photo.
Westhampton Memorial Park
Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Jan 25, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 47117463