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Fetal Surgeon N. Scott Adzick, MD to Be Honored with John Scott Award

Published on
Nov 22, 2013

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia fetal surgeon N. Scott Adzick, MD, is set to receive an award for contributing to the greater “comfort, welfare, and happiness” of the world. Dr. Adzick is one of three to receive the prestigious 2013 John Scott Award at a ceremony tonight at Philadelphia’s American Philosophical Society.

Established by the Edinburgh druggist John Scott in the early 1800s, the John Scott Award — comprised of a cash prize and a copper medal — is given each year by the Philadelphia Board of City Trusts to “the most deserving men or women who make useful inventions” that benefit society. Past winners of the award, which has been handed out since 1822, include luminaries like Marie Cure, Nikola Tesla, and helicopter inventor Igor Sikorsky.

Dr. Adzick will receive the award along with University of Pennsylvania’s P. Leslie Dutton, PhD, and Robert L. Brent, MD, PhD, the former chairman of Thomas Jefferson University’s Department of Pediatrics.

“Each of the 2013 winners brings honor to the legacy of Benjamin Franklin,” noted Ronald Donatucci, president of the Board of City Trusts. “The was John Scott’s purpose in establishing the award upon his death in 1815, and it is clear from the groundbreaking achievements of Drs. Dutton, Adzick, and Brent that Dr. Franklin’s advice remains as true today as it did during his lifetime: ‘An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.’”

Dr. Adzick is a world-renowned fetal surgery pioneer. Of particular note, he led the development of fetal surgery to correct myelomeningocele, a devastating form of spina bifida that when treated with conventional postnatal surgery can lead to lifelong disabilities, including paralysis, bladder and bowel problems, and cognitive impairments.

In 2011, Dr. Adzick and his team published the results of more than two decades of research in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed fetal surgery can significantly improve the outcomes for children diagnosed in utero with spina bifida. Their study demonstrated that two and a half years after fetal surgery children with spina bifida were better able to walk when compared to children who received surgery shortly after birth, and patients who received fetal surgery scored better on tests of motor function.

Dr. Adzick also leads CHOP’s Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, the largest and most comprehensive fetal program in the world, with internationally renowned specialists treating the full range of fetal anomalies.

“To be recognized with the past winners of the John Scott Medal is extremely humbling,” Dr. Adzick said. “The Wright Brothers won the Scott Medal, Dr. Jonas Salk, Thomas Edison — for men and women of science, that’s extraordinary company and extremely gratifying,” he added.

To read more about the history and background of the John Scott Award, see the award’s page.