Paraphrasing the famous poem by Stephen Maria Crane (1871–1900), Ola D. Saugstad has been pursuing what seemed an unreachable horizon in clinical medicine for more than 30 years. Dr Saugstad’s profound knowledge of chemistry, biology, and medicine provided the basis for him to tackle a radical change in the practice of neonatal resuscitation, which consisted in initiating ventilatory support of infants with air instead of pure oxygen. However, because resuscitation is an extremely sensitive field of medicine, based for many decades on unproven and nonscientific traditions, his proposals were not easily accepted. Dr Saugstad wanted to move from the laboratory bench to the bedside, and what seemed logical in the experiments performed in test tubes or research animals was considered anathema by his clinical colleagues and was completely rejected. Dr Saugstad’s profound knowledge of chemistry led him to the conviction that purine derivatives, especially hypoxanthine, which accumulated during prolonged hypoxia,...

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