Reflections on a Wonderful Pediatrician

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia lost a legend on August 29 with the passing of Patrick S. Pasquariello Jr, MD. Dr Pat, as everyone called him, spent his entire 54-year career at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and served as Alumni Editor of Children’s Doctor.

The Patrick S. Pasquariello J. Diagnostic and Complex Care Center, which he created in 1989 and which was renamed in his honor in 2009, is a lasting tribute to his uncanny skills of teasing out information and uncovering a diagnosis when other physicians could not. Dr Pat was the director of CHOP’s Main Campus primary care practice, caring for thousands of children and families, many for two generations. And his involvement in CHOP’s 22q and You Center, and the craniofacial and spina bifida programs was a demonstration of his dedication to children with complex disorders.

He was director of the Office of Continuing Medical Education from 1983 to 2003 and interim chief of the Division of General Pediatrics from 1997 to 2000.

Dr Pat mentored hundreds of budding physicians over those years, including Children’s Doctor medical editor Richard Rutstein, MD, who wrote this tribute.

Mentor, Trusted Colleague, Friend

"On September 3, a beautiful end of summer day, we said our goodbyes to Dr Pat. I could only imagine how much he would have enjoyed the sounds of laughter coming from the children splashing in the Logan Circle’s fountain, across the street from where we met to honor his life.

I met Dr Pat 3 days into my internship at CHOP, more than 35 years ago. He was my continuity clinic preceptor, and every Wednesday for 3 years we would review my patients. He was also my inpatient attending for multiple patients.

When I returned to CHOP after a 9-year hiatus, I assumed the directorship of the resident continuity clinic from him, and we worked closely on the transition. We continued to work together regarding patient care, education, and multiple committees over the next 2 1/2 decades.

Dr Pat was my first mentor and the first General Pediatrician (capital G and P) I met—and he remained forever my mentor and became a trusted colleague and friend. He led by example: how to really listen to a parent, how to enjoy each patient contact, how to be a General Pediatrician within a children’s hospital and within subspecialty clinics. He was a fountain of knowledge and experience. In those early days, he was always my “go-to” consultant for all things pediatric, and he never taught in a way that belittled the question, or questioner.

Dr Pat was one of the last “cross-over” attendings, who came from the Bainbridge Street facility to the new, shiny CHOP building. He will always live in these hallways, among those who care for children: When I see a physician gently calming anxious parents (even when giving unwanted news), or when an attending has the rapt attention of a trainee as a key point is made, or when I find myself enthralled simply by the delight of caring for children—that’s when I will remember Dr Pat."

Honors and Awards

  • Peter C. Adamson, MD, Division of Oncology, will advise the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, the director of the National Cancer Institute, and President Obama on a wide range of issues relating to the national cancer program following his appointment by the President to the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB). He is currently the only pediatric oncologist to serve on the NCAB and will help ensure the voices of the pediatric cancer community are heard by decision makers in the federal government. Since 2010, Adamson has been chair of the Children’s Oncology Group, the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood and adolescent cancer research.
  • Carole Marcus, MBBCh, received the 2015 William C. Dement Academic Achievement Award at the Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. The award recognizes members of the sleep field who have displayed exceptional initiative and progress in the area of academic research.