Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

Juan Pedro Garrahan (1893-1965)
(The Southern Cross, Número del Centenario)

Garrahan, Juan Pedro (1893-1968), physician and paediatrician, was born on 24 September 1893 in Buenos Aires, the eldest son of Juan Garrahan (1855-1919), first city major at General Rodríguez, and Virginia Ramona Nóbile (d. 1941). Juan Garrahan was the fifth son of Patrick Garrahan (1805-1870) of Co. Westmeath, and Anne Kenny (1811-1883).  

Juan Pedro Garrahan was sent to the Lacordaire school of the Dominican Fathers, where he completed his secondary school at the early age of fifteen. In 1908, Garrahan entered the school of medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. In 1915 he graduated with honours at twenty-two. Juan P. Garrahan was resident doctor in the Rawson hospital and then in the Clinics hospital, where he worked in the children surgical service and paediatric clinic. Garrahan spent almost his entire career in the paediatrics school of Clinics hospital, which he joined at twenty-one as the clinics principal, and from where he retired as professor. Juan P. Garrahan was associate professor of paediatric clinic (1923-1924), newborn care (1925-1926), paediatric clinic and newborns (1927-1939), invited professor (1939-1942), professor and director of the paediatrics and newborn care institute at the Clinics hospital (1942-1945), and professor of paediatrics (1956-1962). Additionally, in 1929 he was Inspector of the physician team for Buenos Aires public schools. In 1958 Garrahan was appointed member of the national medicine academy (1958). After his retirement, Garrahan organised the paediatrics service at the Buenos Aires German hospital. On 9 June 1924 Garrahan married María Rosa, née Prando. They had two sons, Juan David Alberto Garrahan and Patricio José Garrahan, and a daughter, María Teresa Virginia Garrahan.

Garrahan was well-known for demanding excellence from his students. He had a particular interest in improving the resources for diagnosis support so as to avoid annoying his patients with intrusive procedures. His innovative paediatric treatments, particularly in his professional practise, were recognised by the paediatric community. Garrahan worked in the Clinics hospital (1915-1925), Rivadavia hospital (1923-1927), weak children school N°1 (1924-1929), newborn department of the medical institute (director 1928-1942), hygiene and microbiology society (President 1923-1924), and nipiology society (1929-1930). However, his most important contribution was the creation of the newborn ward in Rivadavia hospital, which was named after him.

In 1923, Juan Pedro Garrahan was appointed director of the above-mentioned newborn service. Later in 1942, after sixteen years of experience as professor, he was appointed professor of paediatrics at the school of medicine. In 1945 he decided for political reasons to give up the chair, but he resumed in 1955. He wrote numerous scientific papers, some of them published by Archivos de Pediatría of the Argentine paediatrics society. His most important publication was Medicina Infantil, a classic reference still in use in Argentina and Spain (now titled Pediatría y Puericultura). It is not a traditional scientific book, but a practical guide for rural physicians, who need to understand all areas of practise. Other well-known publication was La Salud del Hijo, successfully addressed to parents. Other works: La Pediatría: Ciencia y Arte, Vitamina K en Pediatría, Lecciones de Pediatría. Among other institutions, Dr. Garrahan was a member of paediatrics societies in Madrid, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and University of Santiago (Chile). 

Juan Pedro Garrahan died on 3 April 1965. In 1979, the national health service changed the National Paediatrics Hospital to "Hospital Dr. Juan Pedro Garrahan".

Edmundo Murray


- Argirópolis: Periódico Universitario (, accessed 23 May 2003.

- Coghlan, Eduardo A., Los Irlandeses en la Argentina: Su Actuación y Descendencia (Buenos Aires, 1987), p. 385.

- Communications with Dr. Patricio J. Garrahan (16 May 2003).

Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies

Online published: 1 June 2003
Edited: 07 May 2009

Murray, Edmundo, 'Garrahan, Juan Pedro
(1893-1965)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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