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Our Story

Pediatrician - Special Surgery Edition
October 9, 2015

David Hackam, MD 

David Hackam, M.D., PH.D. Pediatric Surgeon-in-Chief; Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center

We all have a story to tell, a life-changing experience that steered us down a certain path in pediatric medicine. Mine, as a newly minted pediatric surgeon, was a premature, extremely ill 2-week-old infant with a distended belly, who was dying in front of our eyes. In the operating room we found pink intestine turned black, the scourge of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). He pulled through in that first operation but I had to remove more intestine in another surgery, then another. Then, at 11 months of age, he died, and I remember to this day the shock, the grief and the pain felt by his parents and family, the nurses around them. At that point I decided that this would be my life’s work—to understand how we can identify, prevent and treat such devastating diseases.

That path has led me to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and an academic medical center known for its groundbreaking research, world-class clinicians and national centers of excellence. Our aim now is to develop a deeper translational research program to both benefit our patients and help us recruit top pediatric surgeons vital for excellence in pediatric surgery and the treatment of children with complex diseases like NEC. Our vision includes development of six evidence-based surgical centers of excellence in fetal medicine, colorectal/ bowel management, short gut/intestinal care, burn/trauma, oncology and vascular anomalies.

This special issue of Pediatrician reflects some of our work in these and other areas in pediatric surgery here at Johns Hopkins. We’re also reaching out to you, our community pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists, to build our relationship. So please, tell us about your clinical needs and how we can help meet them. And, if you’d like, tell us your story. Thank you and enjoy this issue.

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