Madam President, it is my distinct honor to present to you Prof. Lewis Spitz of London, England, for Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons. Professor Spitz is among the foremost and accomplished pediatric surgeons of his generation and in the world today. A native of South Africa, Professor Spitz obtained his early education and attended medical school in Pretoria. His surgical and pediatric surgical training took place in Johannesburg, Liverpool (Alder Hey Children’s Hospital), and in London (The Hospital for Sick Children; Great Ormond Street).
Professor Spitz currently is the Emeritus Nuffield Professor of Paediatric Surgery, Honorary Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital. He assumed the position of the Nuffield Professor and chairman of the department of surgery at Great Ormond Street in 1979. The Great Ormond Street Hospital is known worldwide for the care it has provided to children for 160 years. Professor Spitz took charge of this pediatric department, which had seen better times, and built it up to become one of the foremost and most respected pediatric surgery departments in the world. In addition, he introduced to Great Ormond Street the value of anti-reflux surgery and gastrostomy placement for feeding problems in severely disabled children, which dramatically improved their quality of life and is now routinely performed worldwide. However, his accomplishments have not been limited to Great Ormond Street. He has also made major contributions to the education and training of pediatric surgeons worldwide and has trained several generations of pediatric surgeons in the United Kingdom.
As further demonstration of his accomplishments, Professor Spitz has been awarded two honorary MD degrees and numerous medals, including the 2012 Ladd Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the Surgical Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has also been invited to give numerous named lectures and invited visiting professorships.
Professor Spitz has served in many leadership capacities, including as an invited member of the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He has an extensive bibliography with more than 400 publications and has edited or co-edited 10 books.
Professor Spitz achieved further international recognition as a leading expert in the management of congenital abnormalities of the oesophagus, oesophageal replacement techniques, and pancreatic and liver tumors. He fostered a policy of evidence-based surgery, which led to many research projects on necrotizing enterocolitis, Hirschsprung’s disease, and the psychological impact of neonatal surgery on infants.
However, it is most important to point out that Professor Spitz is the world’s foremost authority on the management of conjoined twins. An article in the London Times from a 2004 BBC program, titled Last Challenge for Twins Surgeon, stated: “They were conjoined twins, fused together from the breastbone to the navel and sharing major organs like the liver. They had journeyed many thousands of miles to Great Ormond Street Hospital to see if their children could be separated, allowing them to lead individual, independent lives. However, for Professor Lewis Spitz, one of Britain’s foremost paediatric surgeons, it was to be his 24th and last separation before he retired.” Ladies and gentlemen, I can report to you that both children survived, and the operation was a stunning success.
I have had the privilege of knowing Professor Spitz for nearly three decades. For all of his accomplishments, he is a humble and gracious individual and a great friend. It was my honor last year, as the president of the American Pediatric Surgical Association, to invite him to give the coveted Journal of Pediatric Surgery Lecture at the association’s annual meeting.
Madam President, it is with great pleasure and personal pride that I present Prof. Lewis Spitz, the Emeritus Nuffield Professor of Paediatric Surgery and Honorary Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, Great Ormond Street Hospital, for Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons.