The 2018 Apgar award, and the 2018 Bartholome Award

Virginia Apgar Award

The most prestigious award given to an individual who has made major contributions to neonatology, by the AAP, is the Virginia Apgar award. This year the deserving recipient is Saroj Saigal. Saroj has worked for most of her career at McMaster University, in Hamilton Ontario, after a fellowship in Montreal. She has always performed very high quality work, particularly in neonatal follow-up. In the early 1990’s she realised that all the measurements that we do of the outcomes of extremely preterm babies do not capture their lived experiences, or how they feel about the quality of their lives.

Her seminal publication on the issue studying a cohort of extremely low birth weight babies was Saigal S, et al. Comparison of the health-related quality of life of extremely low birth weight children and a reference group of children at age eight years. Journal of Pediatrics. 1994;125(3):418-25. That publication started a whole area of neonatal research, investigating how our patients experience their lives, and the attitudes of healthcare workers, parents and former patients. Here is a selection of her early publications in this area

Streiner DL, et al. Attitudes of parents and health care professionals toward active treatment of extremely premature infants. Pediatr. 2001;108(1):152-7.
Saigal S, et al. Parental perspectives of the health status and health-related quality of life of teen-aged children who were extremely low birth weight and term controls. Pediatrics. 2000;105(3):569-74.
Saigal S, et al. Impact of extreme prematurity on families of adolescent children. The Journal of pediatrics. 2000;137(5):701-6.
Saigal S, et al. Parental perspectives of the health status and health-related quality of life of teen-aged children who were extremely low birth weight and term controls. Pediatrics. 2000;105(3):569-74.
Saigal S, et al. Self-perceived health status and health-related quality of life of extremely low-birth-weight infants at adolescence. JAMA. 1996;276(6):453-9.
Saigal S, et al. Differences in preferences for neonatal outcomes among health care professionals, parents, and adolescents. JAMA. 1999;281(21):1991-7.

Saroj continues her ground-breaking work, with publications just about every month this year. One of her many important contributions to our field is her book preemie voices, which you can buy at the website, http://www.preemievoicesbook.com/ where you can also watch videos that give you an idea of some of the stories in the book.

William G Bartholome Award

This award is given, again by the AAP, for an individual who has a significant impact on the public discussion of ethical issues in pediatrics. It would be hard to think of anyone who has done more for that than John Lantos. He has published several hundred articles and several books (seven I think), and now edits the series in “Pediatrics” of case based discussions of thorny ethical problems.

I remember reading my first John Lantos article in the New England Journal in 1988, Lantos JD etal. Survival After Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in Babies of Very Low Birth Weight; Is CPR Futile Therapy? NEJM 1988;318:91-5 (one of his first contributions noted on PubMed). He and his group noted that among VLBW infants who had a cardiac arrest and received cardiac massage after admission to the NICU, none of those who received CPR in the first 72 hours of life survived, suggesting that maybe CPR in the NICU for such babies is a futile therapy, in the sense of the term that it never works. I don’t think there is a recent study that examines the same issues, but I would not be surprised if the results were similar.

Since then of course, John’s career has been marked by the clarity of his thinking and the lucidity of his prose. He is now director of the Center for Bioethics at the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.  I am currently writing a blog post about 2 of his recent publications, which will appear very shortly; he continues to make me think, which is getting harder as I get older!

Congratulations to Saroj and to John.

About keithbarrington

I am a neonatologist and clinical researcher at Sainte Justine University Health Center in Montréal
This entry was posted in Neonatal Research. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The 2018 Apgar award, and the 2018 Bartholome Award

  1. anniejanvier says:

    John Lantos and Saroj Saigal = we love you so much. Thank you for all you contribute and all that you do for families 🙂

  2. Alma Ring says:

    John, Congratulations. Marge would be so proud. Lots of love from Alma Ring

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