William Edwards Ladd (1880 – 1967) was an American paediatric surgeon.
Known as the father of paediatric surgery.
Pioneering work included the surgical management of intussusception, malrotation and volvulus, pyloric stenosis, biliary atresia and Wilm’s tumour.
- Born 8 September 1880 in Massachusetts as the sixth of seven children
- Graduated with an MD from Harvard Medical School in 1906
- 1910-1913 Assistant Visiting Surgeon to the Boston City Hospital, Infant’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Milton Hospital
- 1912 – Assistant in Surgery at Harvard Medical School
- 1927 – Surgeon-in-Chief at Boston Children’s Hospital
- 1941 – co-authored the first modern American paediatric surgical textbook (Abdominal Surgery of Infancy and Childhood) with Robert E. Gross (1905-1988)
- Died 15 April 1967
- Ladd’s bands – anomalous congenital peritoneal bands attaching the caecum to the posterior abdominal wall in cases of intestinal malrotation
- Ladd’s operation (1932) – Incision of Ladd’s bands to relieve duodenal obstruction in malrotation of the intestine
- Ladd-Gross syndrome – Icterus neonatorum associated with atresia of the bile ducts.
- Ladd’s syndrome (1932) – Congenital obstruction of the duodenum secondary to peritoneal bands (Ladd’s bands) resulting from a malrotated caecum.
Key Medical Attributions:
- December 6, 1917, in Halifax harbour, Canada, the French cargo ship the S.S. Mont-Blanc, filled with wartime explosives, collided with the S.S. Nimo, a Norwegian ship. The detonation resulted in 2,000 deaths and 9,000 injured. Ladd arrived on scene within 24-hours in charge of a Red Cross Unit with enough equipment for a 500-bed hospital. He treated thousands of the injured, including hundreds of children with burns and lacerations.
- On returning to Boston, Ladd devoted himself entirely to the surgical care of infants and children
- From 1911, published multiple papers regarding his experience of intussusception and its management [Boston Med Surg J 1911, Boston Med Surg J 1913, Arch. Surg 1934]
- Ladd pioneered the surgical management of Wilm’s tumour, including promoting the abdominal surgical approach over the posterior approach. ‘Embryoma of the kidney (Wilm’s tumour)‘
- Made key contributions in the surgical management of cleft palate and bladder exstrophy [N Eng J Med 1940]
- Also contributed to the surgical management of biliary atresia, tracheoesophageal fistulas/atresias, and anorectal malformations [American Journal of Surgery 1934]
- A number of Ladd’s trainees went on to achieve notable milestones in paediatric surgery including;
- Orvar Swenson – best known for his work with Hirschsprung disease
- Robert E. Gross – credited for being one of the first to report successful closure of a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (1939) and pioneering treatment of aortic coarctation, co-author of Ladd’s Paediatric Surgery textbook mentioned above, and Ladd’s successor as Chair of Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital (1945)
- Ladd WE, Gross RE. Abdominal Surgery of Infancy and Childhood. 1941 Saunders
- Ladd WE. Congenital obstruction of the duodenum in children.
New England Journal of Medicine 1932; 206: 277-283. [Ladd’s syndrome]
- Ladd WE. Surgical disease of the alimentary tract in infants. New England Journal of Medicine 1936;215:705–8.
- Bill H. William E. Ladd, M.D.: great pioneer of North American pediatric surgery. Progress in pediatric surgery 1986;20:52–9. [PMID 3095882]
- Wiedemann HR. William E. Ladd. European Journal of Pediatrics, 1990;149(10):669
- Harvard Alumni Association. Harvard Men at the Halifax Disaster. Harvard alumni bulletin. 1917;20:337-338
- Nakayama DK. William Ladd before the Halifax explosion. J Pediatr Surg. 2017 Sep 5. [PMID 28927980]
- Xydas. S, Widmann. W, Hardy. M. William E. Ladd: Father of Pediatric Surgery. Curr Surg. 2003 Jan-Feb; 60 (1):47-50 [PMID 14972312]
the person behind the name