Albert Stevens

Albert Mason Stevens

Albert Mason Stevens (1884-1945) was an American surgeon.

Born in India in 1884, Stevens moved to the USA and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1905. 

He obtained his Doctor of Medicine from Columbia University in 1915, after which worked as an assistant surgeon in the trenches in France during World War I.

He resided the rest of his life in the United States where he worked as a surgeon, eventually retiring in 1934 to pursue other passions including fruit growing, teaching and writing.

Along with Frank Chambliss Johnson (1894 – 1934), Stevens is eponymously affiliated with Stevens-Johnson syndrome

  • Born in Rangoon, India in 1884: The son of a Christian missionary
  • 1894 – Moved to the United States of America
  • 1905 – Bachelor of Arts Degree, Yale University
  • 1908 – Rhodes Scholarship, Balliol College Oxford University
  • 1915 – Doctor of Medicine from College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University
  • World War I – served as an assistant surgeon, where he was captured by the Germans and repatriated to the US when the war was over
  • Worked at Bellevue Hospital, New York City
  • 1922 – First documented cases of ‘A new eruptive fever in children associated with stomatitis and opthalmia’ alongside colleague Frank Johnson
  • 1934 – Retired to Hawaii to grow tropical fruit and teach in the Hawaiian school system
  • Died on August 6, 1945

Medical Eponyms
Stevens-Johnson syndrome (1922)

Stevens-Johnson syndrome is an immunological skin condition, often secondary to drugs or infection. Initial presentation is usually a feverish prodromal period followed by a blistering erythematous skin condition – characterised by mucous membrane involvement

Stevens and Frank Chambliss Johnson (1894 – 1934) and were the first to draw attention to the conjunctival involvement of the syndrome which was the distinguishing feature at that time

In 1922 Stevens and Johnson published the case reports of two boys aged 7 and 8 at Bellevue hospital, New York. This report was also published later that year in the Lancet. “A New Eruptive Fever Associated with Stomatitis and Ophthalmia” in children. They could find no description of a similar cutaneous eruption and thought that no known diagnosis could be made from the symptoms and course of the disease.

1922: Case 1. Nature and extent of eruption on the thirteenth day of the illness.

Two cases have been observed of a generalized cutaneous eruption, not conforming to any recognized dermatologie condition. Both cases occurred in boys, one aged 7, the other 8, coming from widely separated parts of New York City, with no possibility of contact. Both cases manifested a purulent conjunctivitis, in Case 2 going on to panophthalmitis and total loss of vision, and in Case 1 responding to treatment, but leaving a severe corneal scar. The pus showed pyogenic organisms only; no gonococci.

Stevens and Johnson. 1922

Major Publications

  • Albert Mason Stevens is most commonly recorded as a pediatrician – however, he was a surgeon
  • For his first year of medical school Stevens turned down a scholarship of $125 a year ($4000 US today), asking that it was presented to another student more in need of the money.

Interesting Facts

In the early 1930s, Stevens wrote a manuscript titled “Hidden History in Nursery Rhymes”, detailing historical references that could be found in many popular British nursery rhymes from the time. He concluded that many were written as political commentary, with double meanings embedded within to guard against punishment for libel or treason. This work was eventually published after his death in 1968 under the title “The Nursery Rhyme: Remnant of Political Protest”.  



Eponymous terms


BSc, MD from University of Western Australia. Junior Doctor currently working at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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