Oklahoma City researcher sees lives change over 40-year career

Charles Esmon, a scientist at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, recently won the Pasarow Award, a highly regarded science award that marks an individual's lifetime of work.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: June 13, 2013
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Charles Esmon was sitting at a restaurant in Dublin, Ireland, when the chef approached his table.

Esmon had been told this was one of the best restaurants in Dublin and he just had to go there. What he didn't know was that he was being set up.

The chef began to tell him that his son was alive, in part, because of Esmon's research.

Esmon, a scientist at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, has spent almost 40 years researching blood clots and sepsis, a serious medical condition caused by an overwhelming immune response to infection.

And this research, as the chef validated that night about three years ago, has helped save the lives of babies who otherwise might have died.

“(His son) was one of these children that were purple from nose to toes, and the result from that is, quite rapidly, you get into multiple organ failure, and you die,” Esmon said. “They just put this protein back into him, and that just resolved it. So, I got a very good dinner out of that.”

Esmon recently was awarded the Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Medical Research Award, recognizing his contributions from his research. It's comparable to a lifetime achievement award.

He came to Oklahoma in March 1976 without intending to stay. A University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center researcher wanted Esmon to teach a seminar, and he was trying to be polite by coming.

He flew down from Wisconsin and soon decided he liked Oklahoma. Wisconsin was in the middle of a blizzard, and he was standing in Oklahoma City, looking at sailboats floating on Lake Hefner.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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