Legendary Pediatrician Profiled in New Academic Book

Dr. Janeway was pediatrician to the world’s children

July 10, 2007

The blank look on a group of Boston residents’ faces when Robert Haggerty, M.D., chair emeritus of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester, suggested Charles Janeway’s approach to a child’s condition inspired Haggerty to ensure other future pediatricians would have the opportunity to learn from Janeway, in print, even if he could no longer teach them himself.

Four file cabinets full of 22 years of research and Haggerty’s dream is finally a reality; Charles A. Janeway: Pediatrician to the World’s Children was published by Harvard University Press this year. It details Janeway’s life from the origins of his family in Italy to his formation of one of the first Departments of Pediatrics with specialty divisions to his last years when he turned his focus to the health of the world’s children.

Haggerty was a pediatric resident under Janeway at Children’s Hospital of Boston at Harvard Medical School, as well as spending nine years on Janeway’s faculty and another five years later in his career. He took on the task of writing the biography with Frederick Lovejoy Jr., M.D., who knew Janeway his whole life, as a father figure and a friend.

“He was such a role model for us all and had such integrity that he serves as an inspiration with all who worked with him,” Haggerty said. “Between the two of us we covered over 50 years of Janeway’s life as close friends and associates.”

After Janeway’s death in 1981, Haggerty felt pediatricians, especially those trained in Boston, interested in international child health, academic pediatricians and those interested in the history of pediatrics needed this book to continue to be inspired by Janeway and his intense dedication to children here and abroad.

In addition to detailing all of Janeway’s accomplishments, the book also captures his personality. One such aspect was his legendary frugality, which Haggerty experienced first-hand while riding in Janeway’s battered WWII Jeep. The Jeep had holes in the canvas and its bouncing could not have helped Janeway’s bad back. Haggerty once asked him why he didn’t buy a more comfortable car.

“He said, perhaps in jest, that it was to give the staff something unimportant to talk about so they wouldn’t ask him for things difficult to deliver,” Haggerty recalled.

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