With this issue we begin an occasional series of essays on the history of pediatrics. Included will be a variety of topics such as pediatric organizations, pediatric specialties, and the contributions of outstanding pediatricians who have shaped our specialty.
Pediatrics as a specialty in the United States is more than 100 years old. It is easy to assess how the practice of pediatrics has changed over the years by looking at our own careers. For example, during my life as a pediatrician, I remember performing lumbar punctures through the ports of an iron lung on children with poliomyelitis; giving fluids to dehydrated children by clysis; sending children with acute glomerulonephritis to convalescent hospitals for rest in bed, nourishing food, and plenty of sunshine until microscopic hematuria had disappeared; and defering frequent determinations of blood chemistries or electrolytes because of the large quantities of blood required.