Dr Victoria Coffey (1911–1999)

Dr Victoria Coffey was one of the first female paediatricians in Ireland. After graduation from RCSI, Coffey worked at the Meath and Coombe Hospitals before being appointed in 1943 as medical officer in charge of children at St Kevin’s Hospital. During this period, she developed her interest in the neglected field of congenital birth defects and began a distinguished publishing career. Appointed lecturer in teratology at Trinity College, Coffey went on to conduct pioneering research on a range of subjects including metabolic disorders in the newborn and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). In 1979 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and was also a founding member of their Faculty of Paediatrics. She was the first female recipient of RCSI’s Distinguished Graduate Medal, first woman President of both the Irish Paediatric Association and the RCSI Postgraduates’ Association, and President and founding member of the Irish and American Paediatric Society.