American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

W. Hardy Hendren III Receives 2012 Jacobson Innovation Award

Award recognizes surgeon’s accomplishments in developing novel reconstruction procedures for children with severe urogenital abnormalities

NEWS FROM THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CHICAGO (June 8, 2012): W. Hardy Hendren III, MD, FACS, FRCS (Ire, Eng, Glas) (Hon), a pediatric surgeon from Boston, Mass., received  the 2012 Jacobson Innovation Award of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) at a dinner held in his honor tonight in Chicago, Ill.  A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons since 1963, Dr. Hendren was honored with this prestigious international surgical award in recognition of his innovative and pioneering work in developing urinary undiversion surgical techniques.  His innovative developments revolutionized the practice of pediatric surgery in reconstruction of the urinary and genital tract in patients with severe urogenital abnormalities.  Dr. Hendren is the Distinguished Robert E. Gross Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Mass.; emeritus chief of surgery at Children’s Hospital Boston; and an honorary surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

The Jacobson Innovation Award honors living surgeons who have been innovators of a new development or technique in any field of surgery and is made possible through a gift from Julius H. Jacobson II, MD, FACS, and his wife Joan.  Dr. Jacobson is a general vascular surgeon known for his pioneering work in the development of microsurgery.

In 1943, after graduation from Woodberry Forest School, in Orange, Vir., Dr. Hendren enlisted in U.S. Naval Aviation at the age of 17, becoming a Carrier Qualified Naval Aviator.  Following active military duty, he earned an AB degree from Dartmouth College in 1948.  He then enrolled in the two-year medical school program at Dartmouth Medical School, before moving to Boston to complete studies at Harvard Medical School, where he earned a medical doctorate (MD) in 1952.  Dr. Hendren was active in establishing the national internship matching program in 1952.  The “match” has worked well for 60 years and has been expanded to use for residency programs.  Eight years of surgical training followed at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Children’s Hospital, Boston.  He attained board certification in general and cardiothoracic surgery by 1959, and later in pediatric surgery when that board was founded in 1975.

In 1960, Dr. Edward D. Churchill invited him to return to MGH to build a division of pediatric surgery.  Multiple surgeons on the MGH staff joined this overall effort, which soon included specialists in neurosurgery, plastic surgery, cardiac surgery, urology, general surgery, and orthopedics.  Space was acquired for a surgical laboratory in 1967.  Residents were assigned from both general surgery and urology.  Soon, laboratory fellows were working in the research lab and clinical fellows in pediatric urology and general pediatric surgery.  Patricia Donahoe, MD, FACS, was recruited in 1973 to run the research lab and work clinically as well.

In the 1950s and 1960s, children with severe urogenital abnormalities were treated using multiple diversionary procedures such as nephrostomy, ureterostomy, cystostomy, and ileal loop operations.  However, as a practicing surgeon, Dr. Hendren recognized that infants with most other abnormalities (i.e.: esophageal atresia, bowel atresia, cardiac abnormalities) could have those conditions repaired during infancy.  Therefore, he began to surgically fix, rather than divert, dilated ureters and kidneys.  He devised a repair for megaureters, and a repair of complex cloacal anomalies, as well as a series of operations to reconstruct children with disorders of sexual differentiation.  The next step was to repair children who had undergone diversion procedures.  Thus, “undiversion” was the word chosen to describe this new surgical approach.

Another advance that resulted from Dr. Hendren’s work was improving the quality of life for patients by ending the use of collection bags used in diversionary procedures.  Through the development of undiversion operations, Dr. Hendren and his team were able to remove the collection bags from more than 200 children and young adults who no longer required these appliances attached to their bodies.

In the years since Dr. Hendren’s extraordinary surgical approach was introduced, his techniques have been refined to a level of sophistication so high that children born with urogenital abnormalities may be able to look almost completely normal and be able to function without the added social stigma of having multiple stomas.

More than 50 years after the concept of undiversion was posed, the resulting work still leads the care of pediatric and adult urological surgery patients.  In recognition of his work, Dr. Hendren has been given numerous awards and honors, including an American Urological Association Certificate of Achievement to recognize his lifetime of career achievements in urology.

In 1982, Dr. Hendren was invited to return to Children’s Hospital as chief of surgery, and in 1985 he became the first incumbent of the Robert E. Gross Chair at Harvard.  Dr. Hendren has mentored many surgeons in pediatric surgery and pediatric urology from both MGH and Children’s Hospital, all of whom are quite accomplished in the field and serving in academic positions today.

Dr. Hendren credits Eleanor, his wife of 65 years, with the raising of their five children: Sandra, a teacher and nurse (deceased); Douglas, an orthopedic surgeon; William, a cardiac surgeon; Robert, an urologist (all three are Fellows of the American College of Surgeons); and David, an attorney.  He and Eleanor have 11 grandchildren. 

Since its establishment in 1994, the main criterion for choosing a recipient of the Jacobson Innovation Award is original thought combined with the first presentation of work that has led to a milestone in the advancement of surgical care. Administered by the Board of Regents Honors Committee of the American College of Surgeons, the Award has been given to 18 prestigious surgeons, including Dr. Hendren.

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient.  The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery.  Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients.  The College has more than 78,000 members and it is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.  For more information, visit http://www.facs.org.

NOTE: Photo available upon request the week of June 18.

Past Jacobson Award Recipients


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About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 79,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit www.facs.org.

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