Allen Oldfather Whipple

Allen Oldfather Whipple (1881-1963) was an American surgeon.

Best known for the pancreatic cancer operation (pancreaticoduodenectomy) eponymously named the Whipple procedure, of which he performed 37 during his career

Associated with the Whipple triad indicative of potential hyperinsulinemia secondary to pancreatic insulinoma

  • Born September 2, 1881 Urmia, Persia
  • Studied at Princeton University initially
  • 1908 – Graduated from medical school at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York
  • 1921 – Professor of surgery of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York. Later became Surgeon in Chief
  • 1934 – President of the New York Surgical Society
  • 1936 – President of the Society of Clinical Surgery
  • 1940 – President of the American Surgical Association
  • Father to 2 sons and one daughter
  • 1946 – Retired, though continued work in surgical education, research and writing
  • Died April 6, 1963, New Jersey

Medical Eponyms
Whipple procedure (1935) Pancreaticoduodenectomy

Whipple triad (1938)

Three criteria (Whipple criteria) which were deemed suggestive of hypoglycemia that may indicate the presence of pancreatic insulinomas requiring surgical management:

  • Hypoglycemia Clinical – Signs and symptoms (e.g. confusion, tachycardia, seizure, diaphoresis, coma)
  • Hypoglycemia Measured – Blood glucose level <50 mg/dL
  • Hypoglycemia Resolution – Relief of symptoms after the administration of IV glucose

Key Medical Attributions:

Whipple supervised the surgical residency of Virginia Apgar and recommended that she not pursue a career as a surgeon, but consider anesthesiology instead . As head of the Department of Surgery, he saw a growing need for medically managed anesthesia and knew surgery depended on advancements in this field in order to progress. He saw in Apgar the ‘energy and ability‘ to make a significant contribution.

Major Publications


Allen Whipple was not related to George Hoyt Whipple (of Whipple disease), but as a young intern AO Whipple treated GH Whipple for a serious bout of malaria and following convalescence the two became lifelong friends


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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