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Biographical entry Grosfeld, Jay Lazar (1935 - 2016)

BS BA New York University; MD 1961; FACS 1973; Hon FRCS 1999; Hon FRCSI; Hon FRCS Glasg.

30 May 1935
18 October 2016
Paediatric surgeon


Jay Grosfeld was, in the eyes of many, the foremost American academic paediatric surgeon of his time. A large man with a warm personality and an ever-present friendly smile, he was a wonderful host to visiting surgeons, a superb teacher and someone revered on both sides of the Atlantic by all who knew him.

Grosfeld was the son of Louis and Pearl (née Reizes) Grosfeld. As an undergraduate, Jay attended the Washington Square College at New York University, where he received a BS in biology and a BA in history. In 1957, he attended medical school at the New York University School of Medicine, graduating as an MD in 1961. Training in general surgery in New York hospitals followed before he was drafted into the Army in 1966. After serving two years as a captain in the US Army Medical Corps, he trained in paediatric surgery at the Nationwide Children's Hospital at Ohio State University from 1968 to 1970. He returned to New York University as an assistant professor of surgery in 1970. Two years later, he was appointed as professor and director of pediatric surgery at Indiana University and the first surgeon-in-chief of the Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. In 1985, he was appointed as chairman of the department of surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine, a position he held until he retired in 2003.

Grosfeld's research was in various fields, but with a special interest in short bowel syndrome, biliary atresia, Wilms' tumour and neuroblastoma. He was a prolific author, publishing some 490 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 135 book chapters. He also wrote or edited nine textbooks, including the fifth and sixth editions of the magisterial two volume Pediatric surgery (Elsevier Health Sciences), before becoming editor emeritus for the seventh edition.

Honours abounded: he was chairman of the surgical section of the American Academy of Pediatrics, president of the American Pediatric Surgical Association, president of the Halsted Society, president of both the Central Surgical Association and the Western Surgical Association, president of the World Federation of Associations of Pediatric Surgeons, president of the American Surgical Association and vice president of the American College of Surgeons. He became a council member of the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons and in 1998 was awarded the Denis Browne gold medal by that Association. Other awards included the William E Ladd medal from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Fritz Rehbein medal from the European Pediatric Surgical Association and honorary fellowships of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He was made an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1999.

Jay Grosfeld was married to Margie (née Faulkner) for 54 years and they had five children - Alicia, Dalia, Janice, Jeffrey and Mark, and 17 grandchildren. He died on 19 October 2016 aged 81.

Sir Barry Jackson

Sources used to compile this entry: [British Association of Paediatric Surgeons Jay L Grosfeld Obituary - accessed 25 May 2017; WOFAPS News Obituary Jay L Grosfeld 1935-2016 - accessed 25 May 2017; Pediatric Surgery International 2017 33:1:1-2 - accessed 25 May 2017; Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons. News. In memoriam: Jay L Grosfeld, MD, FACS, champion for pediatric surgery patients - accessed 25 May 2017].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England