The Stanley J. Dudrick, MD, Endowed Chair In Innovative Medical Education

Stanley J. Dudrick, MD

Born to first-generation Americans in the coal mining town of Nanticoke, PA, Stanley J. Dudrick was taught the merits of honesty, hard work and perseverance. He was an adventurous soul who saw no limitations on his future. His loving parents and instructive aunts and uncles saw him as the family legacy bearer. However, it was the compassion of his mother’s doctors that settled his decision by the age of seven to become “one of them.”

About his undergrad days at Franklin and Marshall College, Stan says, “They infected me and transformed me into an avid would-be scholar. They imbued me with the understanding that nothing was more precious than to gain knowledge and then pass it on to others.” While a research fellow and surgical resident at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine focusing on pediatric surgery, Dr. Dudrick’s zeal for knowledge became unrelenting dedication as he investigated and developed novel approaches to intravenous nourishment. Dr. Dudrick continues to feel the urgency that there is still much to be accomplished. He is awed by the unexplored horizons and says, “I can only envy today’s bright young medical students for the transformation they will see in health care, and especially in surgery, in the next 50 years. The possibilities are almost beyond my imagination.”

It is this same sense of wonder and innovation that enabled Dr. Dudrick to persevere in his TPN discoveries that Geisinger Commonwealth strives to instill in our students through fresh teaching methods and innovative curriculum. Attracting a renowned scholar-teacher to the endowed chair will further enhance Geisinger Commonwealth’s quality of instruction and academic reputation.

The Beginning of Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN)

baby Kelleen - Dudrickdudrick  Baby2In 1967, little baby Kelleen arrived at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP) with a catastrophic congenital anomaly that did not allow her to be fed by mouth. Dr. Dudrick had achieved early successes in the lab and treatment of six adult patients with TPN. As the only viable option for Kelleen, he was asked to work with the CHOP team and share his technique to care for the 3.5 pound newborn. Dr. Dudrick and his colleagues refused to accept traditional norms and daily setbacks as they optimized Kelleen’s central venous nutrition, checked on her at least four times a day, and brought her weight up to 6.5 pounds over six weeks.

The number of lives of children that have been saved is estimated at over 10 million, and the benefit to adults with a range of conditions is no less substantial.

kids - DudrickMessage from the Dean

The story of the development of total parenteral nutrition (TPN), is a long and complex one in which Stanley Dudrick, MD, played the lead role at every step, including fundamental insights into metabolism and nutritional needs of critically ill patients; numerous advances in the technology of intravenous tubing, pumps, and central catheterization; and major advances in the approach to antisepsis from the pharmacy to the bedside. This remarkable odyssey of discovery could only have been possible through the commitment of a medical scientist of great intellectual capacity, energy, vision and courage. It required not only scientific skill and absolute persistent dedication but also the ability to galvanize teams and engage partnerships with the pharmaceutical
and biotechnology industries. 

In the four decades since its development, TPN has transformed the care of patients with cancer, gastrointestinal diseases, trauma, sepsis and a wide range of critical illnesses; has made possible altogether the field of intestinal transplantation; and has had a transformative effect on the survival of critically ill infants that is difficult to overstate. The number of lives of children that have been saved is estimated at over 10 million, and the benefit to adults with a range of conditions is no less substantial. TPN is a lifesaving mainstay of therapy for a great proportion of the most critically ill patients in hospitals worldwide and amounts to one of the most significant developments in the history of surgery.

Throughout his career, up to and including today, Stan has served as an inspirational and selfless teacher and mentor. At an age when many would have long ago retired, Stan continues to work with energy to inspire yet another generation of physicians. I am thrilled that Stan is actively engaged with our faculty and students as Professor of Surgery.

Please join the Geisinger Commonwealth family to honor Stan, support groundbreaking curriculum and exceptional pedagogy by contributing to The Stanley J. Dudrick, MD, Endowed Chair in Innovative Medical Education.

DudrickDeanSteven J. Scheinman, MD
President and Dean