Dr. Jerold Lucey, pediatrician who spearheaded new treatments for premature babies, dies at 91

Jerold F. Lucey, MD, who led innovations in pediatrics to improve the survival and health of premature babies, died Dec. 10 at age 91, according to an obituary in The New York Times.

Dr. Lucey died after having a stroke, according to his wife, Ingela Lucey. Dr. Lucey spent the majority of his career as a professor at the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington.

During his career, Dr. Lucey introduced new treatments for fragile newborns and encouraged national and international collaborations to emphasize that pediatricians should back the effectiveness of their procedures with documented evidence.

Dr. Lucey developed a randomized trial of light therapy to treat jaundice in premature babies in the 1960s, which led to widespread adoption of the technique. He also helped introduce other important neonatal therapies, which included using surfactant to help premature babies with struggling lungs, cooling the brains of babies to prevent asphyxiation damage and monitoring babies' oxygen levels through the skin as opposed to drawing blood.

Dr. Lucey also served as editor-in-chief of Pediatrics for 35 years. "I don't think there's a pediatrician who doesn't realize that some aspect of their career is because of a contribution that [Dr.] Lucey made," said Lewis R. First, MD, editor in chief of Pediatrics.

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