As surgeon-in-chief at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and founder and director of the hospital’s Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, N. Scott Adzick, MD, MMM, FACS, FAAP, is one of the leading pediatric surgeons in the world. He and his team have performed more than 400 surgeries on babies with the rare genetic disorder, Congenital Hyperinsulinism (HI).
HI occurs when the insulin cells in the pancreas, called beta cells, secrete too much insulin. Excess insulin causes low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which, if left untreated, can lead to seizures, brain damage and possibly death.
It is the mission of Congenital Hyperinsulinism International (CHI) to advocate, educate and provide resources to children affected with HI. This year, Dr. Adzick received the CHI Be My Sugar Award for Surgical Excellence at the third annual Sugar Soiree in the Seaport neighborhood of Boston on November 5, 2016.
“Having the opportunity to award Dr. Adzick on behalf of the HI community holds extra special meaning for me,” said Julie Raskin, executive director of CHI. “Not only am I so proud of the work he and his team does each day, but I know first-hand the impact it has on a person’s life. Dr. Adzick treated my son, Ben, for HI as a baby. Ben is now a thriving 20-year-old thanks to Dr. Adzick and CHOP’s expert HI team.”
In 1999, Dr. Adzick helped world renowned HI pioneer, Dr. Charles Stanley, create the Congenital Hyperinsulinism Center at CHOP. The Center offers evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care for children with HI. Because most children’s hospitals only encounter one or two cases of HI per year, it is important that children with this rare disease receive medical care from an experienced team. The Center has treated more than 800 children with congenital HI, and performed more than 450 pancreatectomies — making it the largest and most active HI Center in the world.
“It is an honor to have received such a distinction,” said Dr. Adzick. “CHI does a wonderful job of bringing the HI community together so that families feel supported. It is also essential to raise awareness so that children affected by HI have access to an expert multidisciplinary team, like we have at CHOP, and the treatment options to reduce brain damage and death.”
“On behalf of the Congenital Hyperinsulinism Center at CHOP, I would like to congratulate Dr. Adzick on receiving this award,” said Diva De León-Crutchlow, MD, MSCE, pediatric endocrinologist and director of the CHOP’s Congenital Hyperinsulinism Center. “Surgery plays such an important role in the treatment of HI, and in many cases, is the reason babies can overcome this disease and go on to live happy, healthy lives.”
In addition to Dr. Adzick’s advancements in HI, he is also an active pediatric general, thoracic and fetal surgeon, performing more than 400 operations a year. Much of his work is devoted to performing fetal surgery for spina bifida, and other prenatally diagnosed birth defects while babies are still in their mother’s womb.