Jessie Ternberg, MD, PhD, in the operating room

Jessie L. Ternberg, MD, photographed here performing surgery (right), was instrumental in establishing the Division of Pediatric Surgery and was named its chief in 1972. As one of the more recently developed surgical specialties, pediatric surgery grew from the recognition that children, and especially infants, have surgical problems distinct from those seen in adults. This is because of both the origin of diseases (for example, congenital conditions) and age.

St. Louis Children’s Hospital was founded in 1879, but the Division of Pediatric Surgery was not established until 1972. Today, the division’s board-certified surgeons stress excellence in patient care, teaching and research as well as maintaining a research lab in the field of intestinal adaptation following massive small bowel resection.

In recent years, Washington University pediatric surgeons have seen significant increases in admissions to the pediatric surgical service. Trauma cases also have grown at a disproportionate rate, and the Division has combined its care of pediatric burn and wound patients in a single unit.

Working with specialists in other fields (such as cardiothoracic surgery, plastic surgery and neurosurgery), pediatric surgeons continue to offer comprehensive surgical services to patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.