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December 2007 Volume 31 No. 11
Paul Hensleigh, Ob/Gyn professor, medical activist, dies at 68


Memorial services were scheduled Nov. 15 for Paul Hensleigh, MD, PhD, professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology at the School of Medicine, who spent much of his years in retirement working to improve the survival rates of women giving birth in developing countries.

Hensleigh died Nov. 6 at the age of 68 following a seven-month battle with pancreatic cancer. His ashes were interred Nov. 11 in his hometown of Winchester, Kansas.

“Dr. Hensleigh was an outstanding obstetrician who combined a deep understanding of obstetrical problems with a commitment to improving obstetrical care for women — both in this country and around the world,” said Maurice Druzin, the Charles B. and Ann L. Johnson Professor in the School of Medicine and vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In 1977, Hensleigh came to the Stanford from the University of Kansas where he had trained. He practiced as a perinatologist at SHC and at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. He served as chief of obstetrics at Valley Medical Center until retiring in 2000.

But retiring didn’t mean a quieter life for Hensleigh. He undertook medical missions around the world to improve the survival of pregnant women in developing nations.

Hensleigh was particularly concerned with women suffering from obstetrical hemorrhaging. His solution was a life-saving garment that resembles a dismantled wet suit that reduces blood loss through compression. His teaching and research with the garment took him to Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico and Ethiopia.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Bonnie (Frederiksen) of Stanford; his son, Paul Andrew Hensleigh, of Elk Grove; daughter, Michelle Pilarczyk, of London; six grandchildren and seven siblings. He was preceded in death by his daughter Heather Gribble.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Hensleigh’s memory to the Albanian Health Fund, P.O. Box 65, Saratoga, CA, 95070, (www.albanianhealthfund.org). Hensleigh had been elected president of the fund last August.

— Courtesy SUMC Office of Communication