Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

Murtagh, Juan Jorge (1900-2000), physician and neonatologist, was born on 22 July 1900 in Buenos Aires, the eldest son of Juan Nicanor Murtagh (1866-1947) and his wife, Celina Langan.

In 1924 Juan Jorge Murtagh graduated in the school of medicine at the University of Buenos Aires, where he studied with the Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Bernardo Houssay. Murtagh began his practised in 1928 at the Maternity Institute. In 1942 he succeeded Juan Pedro Garrahan (1893-1968) as the head of the Paediatrics Department.

In 1955 Juan J. Murtagh was appointed assistant professor of paediatrics, in 1959 associate clinical professor of paediatrics, and in 1961 professor of paediatrics at the University of Salvador. In addition to his academic activity, in 1942 Dr. Murtagh was director of the Paediatrics and Children Care Service in the Alberto Peralta Ramos hospital, and in 1935 director of the nursing section in the municipal dispensary of Buenos Aires. In 1953 Murtagh founded and directed during three years El Recién Nacido magazine. He was the president of the Argentine Paediatrics Society. In 1965 Murtagh founded the non-profit organisation APAP (Asociación para el Perfeccionamiento Asistencial del Prematuro), which financed the first neonatological pathology service in Argentina. After his retirement, Dr. Murtagh worked pro bono with less-favoured children.

Juan J. Murtagh published Prematuros y débiles congénitos (1942), Valores estadísticos hematimétricos y hemoquímicos en lactantes (1947, co-authored), and Anoxia del recién nacido (1952).

Murtagh was one of the first students of the Catholic Culture Courses in 1922. The group represented prominent families of the traditional Argentine elite and Catholic nationalist groups. Classes included philosophy, history of the Catholic church, and sacred scriptures. Later in 1936 Dr. Murtagh would give courses about education in the public schools.

Juan Jorge Murtagh died on 2 April 2000.

Gonzalo Cané


- Coghlan, Eduardo A., Los Irlandeses en la Argentina: Su Actuación y Descendencia (Buenos Aires, 1987), p. 725.
Quien es quien en la Argentina (Buenos Aires: Editorial Kraft, 1963).

Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies

Online published: 1 February 2004
Edited: 07 May 2009

Cané, Gonzalo, 'Murtagh, Juan Jorge
(1900-2000)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

 Copyright Information