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February 1, 1958


Author Affiliations


Surgeon in Chief, Children's Memorial Hospital.

JAMA. 1958;166(5):462-466. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.02990050032006

Pediatric surgery today encompasses not only abdominal and orthopedic surgery but also the surgical correction of many other types of disease, trauma, and congenital defects in all parts of the body. Basic training in general surgery is absolutely essential for work in pediatric surgery. In addition, there must be a deeply ingrained love of children, a carefully nurtured tolerance of their natural aversion to being hurt, and the careful acquisition of gentleness and skill in dealing with them. Anesthesiologists accustomed to dealing with adults need to be especially careful in their first encounters with children. It will long be impossible to specify just which surgical procedures should be considered within the field of competence of the pediatric surgeon. Rigid specifications as to each surgeon's rightful field of activity would limit unduly the work of some men who are competent and well aware of their responsibilities. The refinements of child care are possible only where it is feasible to have personnel specially trained in all phases of it. Every medical center of any size should have a chidlren's hospital where the best in medical and surgical care is available from experienced personnel. In it there should be a surgeon who devotes all his time to pediatric surgery.