The 2012 Jacobson Innovation Award of the ACS was given to W. Hardy Hendren III, MD, FACS, FRCS(Ire, Eng, Glas[Hon]), a pediatric surgeon from Boston, MA, at a dinner in his honor on June 8 in Chicago. An ACS Fellow since 1963, Dr. Hendren was honored with this prestigious international surgical award in recognition of his pioneering work in developing urinary undiversion surgical techniques. Several of Dr. Hendren’s colleagues and patients testified movingly at the dinner to his innovative and life-altering contributions to surgery.
His work revolutionized the practice of pediatric surgery in reconstruction of the urinary and genital tract in patients with severe urogenital abnormalities. Dr. Hendren is the Distinguished Robert E. Gross Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Boston; emeritus chief of surgery at Children’s Hospital, Boston; and an honorary surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.
The Jacobson Innovation Award honors living surgeons who have been innovators of a new development or technique in any field of surgery and is made possible through a gift from Julius H. Jacobson II, MD, FACS, and his wife Joan. Dr. Jacobson is a general vascular surgeon known for his pioneering work in the development of microsurgery.
In the 1950s and 1960s, children with severe urogenital abnormalities were treated using multiple diversionary procedures, such as nephrostomy, ureterostomy, cystostomy, and ileal loop operations. However, as a practicing surgeon, Dr. Hendren recognized that infant abnormalities (such as esophageal atresia, bowel atresia, and cardiac abnormalities) could be repaired during infancy. He began to surgically fix, rather than divert, dilated ureters and kidneys. He devised a repair for megaureters, and a repair of complex cloacal anomalies, as well as a series of operations to reconstruct children with disorders of sexual differentiation. The next step was to repair problems in children who had undergone diversion procedures, an operation that went by the word "undiversion."
Dr. Hendren has also enhanced the quality of patients’ lives by ending the use of collection bags for diversionary procedures. Through undiversion operations, Dr. Hendren and his team removed the collection bags from more than 200 children and young adults. His surgical approach has since been refined to a level of sophistication such that children born with urogenital abnormalities show almost no physical abnormalities and are able to function without multiple stomas.
A highly active Fellow of the College, Dr. Hendren served as Second Vice-President (1997-1998), a member of the Advisory Councils for Surgical Specialties (1981-1986), an ACS Governor (1980-1986), and a Past-President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the ACS.
Dr. Hendren credits Eleanor, his wife of 65 years, with the raising of their five children: Sandra, a teacher and nurse (deceased); Douglas, an orthopaedic surgeon; William, a cardiac surgeon; Robert, a urologist (all three are Fellows of the American College of Surgeons); and David, an attorney. Dr. Hendren and Eleanor have 11 grandchildren.
Administered by the Board of Regents Honors Committee of the American College of Surgeons, 18 prestigious surgeons, including Dr. Hendren, have received the Jacobson Innovation Award, established in 1994. To view a press release about this year’s Jacobson Award, click here.