Elizabeth Forshall Lecture
A pediatric surgeon retools in genetics and genomics to
study congenital diaphragmatic hernia
Patricia K. Donahoe
Pediatric Surgical Research Laboratories, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA
Received 4 October 2008; accepted 23 October 2008
Abstract Prof Donahoe outlines her career-long interest in congenital diaphragmatic hernia and how this
has led to her current investigations into its etiology and possible treatment using gene probes.
© 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Forshall lectureship, for me, is an esteemed honor
and a personal fulfillment because I had the opportunity to
train as both registrar and senior registrar at the Alder Hey
Children's Hospital, West Derby, Liverpool, England in the
surgical unit that Isabella Forshall founded. She had the
foresight, energy, and perseverance to establish an infra-
structure that led to the regionalization of neonatal care.
With its success in improving the outcome of newborn
congenital anomalies, Alder Hey thus became a model for
the United Kingdom and for the rest of the world. She
organized training for house officers, registrars, and senior
registrars who came from all over the world to train in this
system of high-quality surgical management of pediatric
disorders that was emulated nationally and internationally,
as we carried home her lessons. Ms Forshall was recognized
for her accomplishments by being selected as the second
president of the British Association of Pediatric Surgery.
Her textbook, Neonatal Surgery, became the bible of
surgical technique and illustrated that her concept of
regionalization resulted in improved outcomes for newborn
infants cared for in this system.
I came to Liverpool after Ms Forshall's retirement to
Alder Hey as a registrar for Mr Rickham's service, and then
served as senior registrar, where I had the pleasure of
working with himself and his colleagues, Richard Cooke,
Roger Cudmore, Irene Irving, and Herbert Johnston, for all
of whom I had enormous respect and who all taught me a
great deal that has forever affected my practice as a pediatric
surgeon for the ensuing 35 years. So, it is with warm
gratitude to Ms Forshall and for her legacy that I dedicate this
lecture in her memory.
As I was nearing the end of my tenure as the chief of the
Pediatric Surgical Services at the Massachusetts General
Hospital for Children (MGH), Boston, Mass, we became
Presented at the 55th Annual Congress of the British Association of
Paediatric Surgeons, Salamanca, Spain, July 2-5, 2008.
Tel.: +1 617 724 1600; fax: +1 617 726 5057.
E-mail addresses: email@example.com, pdonahoe@
0022-3468/$ – see front matter © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Journal of Pediatric Surgery (2009) 44, 307–311