National Institute of Health photo
Leila Alice Denmark, M.D. (née Daughtry; born February 1, 1898) is, at 113 years, an American pediatrician who became the oldest practicing pediatrician in the world, retiring at the age of 103 in May 2001. She is one of very few supercentenarians known for reasons other than for longevity. She is currently one of the 11th oldest known living people.
Read more about Dr. Leila Denmark, free from the National Library of Medicine. Born in Portal, Georgia, Denmark was the third of 12 children born to Elerbee and Alice Cornelia Hendricks Daughtry. She is the only one still living. She attended Tift College in Forsyth, Georgia, where she trained to be a teacher, but decided to attend medical school when her fiancé, John E. Denmark, was posted to Java, Dutch Indies, by the United States Department of State and no wives were allowed. She was the only woman in the 1928 graduating class of the Medical College of Georgia, and married soon after graduation. Denmark is credited as co-developer of the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine in the 1920s and 1930s.
 Medical career
Following graduation, she accepted a residency at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia and moved to the Morningside-Lenox Park neighborhood with her husband. Denmark was the first physician on staff at Henrietta Eggleston Hospital, a pediatric hospital on the Emory University campus, when it opened. In private practice, she saw patients in a clinic at her home and devoted a substantial amount of her professional time to charity. She never refused a referral from the public health department. On March 9, 2000, the Georgia General Assembly honored her in a resolution.
Denmark outlined her views on child-rearing in her book Every Child Should Have A Chance, published in 1971. She was among the first doctors to object to cigarette smoking around children, and drug use in pregnant women. She believes that drinking cow's milk is harmful, and that children (and adults) should eat fruit instead of drinking fruit juices, and drink only water.
On her 100th birthday in 1998, she refused cake due to the fact that there was too much sugar in it. On her 103rd birthday she refused birthday cake, telling the restaurant's server she had not had any food with sugar in it (other than natural sugar like fruit) in 70 years. She wrote a second book, published in 2002, with Madia Bowman titled Dr. Denmark Said It!: Advice for Mothers from America's Most Experienced Pediatrician (Paperback).
Denmark lived in Alpharetta, Georgia until age 106, when she moved to Athens, Georgia to live with her daughter Mary Hutcherson. On February 1, 2008, Denmark celebrated her 110th birthday, attaining supercentenarian status. According to her daughter, Mary Hutcherson, Denmark's health had deteriorated severely in Autumn 2008, but her condition has since improved.