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A pioneer of modern-day neonatology

The current issue of the Stanford Medicine Newsletter includes an inspirational story on the career of neonatologist Philip Sunshine, MD. Arriving at Stanford in 1957, Sunshine has been working with premature babies since before the term “neonatology” existed and has been an influential figure in the field:

A renowned scientist as well as clinician, he was a member of the team that first implemented mechanical ventilation at Stanford and devised the first scoring system for selection of infants to be treated with assisted ventilation. He was the first in the United States to describe a child with ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency, a rare and deadly metabolic disorder, and he led ground-breaking research in developmental gastroenterology and nutrition in newborns, among other contributions.

Sunshine remembers one key practice he helped advance that is now so common, it would seem bizarre to do otherwise. “Up until around 1966, parents weren’t allowed to even come into the nursery with their babies,” he said. “But we discovered that parents provide care that doctors and nurses could not. Parents get to know their babies at an early stage of life, and the babies relate well to this.”

Previously: Neonatologist celebrates 50 years of preemie care

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