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1923 - 2020

Lester W. Martin, M.D., 1923-2020

Lester W. Martin, MD, passed away on March 13, 2020 at the age of 96 years. Dr. Martin was a long-standing member of the American Surgical Association and had an illustrious career as the first full time pediatric surgeon at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dr. Martin was a native of Missouri and started his medical education at the University of Missouri before transferring to Harvard to complete his education. He trained in pediatric surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital under Robert Gross and in 1957 he moved to Cincinnati to become the first surgeon to devote his entire practice to the care of children. He chaired the Division of Pediatric Surgery for 21 years and made many contributions to pediatric surgery as a clinical innovator and researcher who worked throughout his career to identify challenges in patients, develop interventions in the laboratory and then implement them in patients. He performed the first liver and kidney transplants in Cincinnati, developed a procedure for long segment Hirschsprung’s Disease and brought the ileoanal pull-through procedure for ulcerative colitis to the pediatric population.

One of the greatest sources of pride for Dr. Martin came from his commitment to surgical education. The pediatric surgical training program he started soon after his arrival was only the 4th training program in the country and has remained a top tier fellowship ever since. His commitment to education was recognized in 1990 when he was awarded the Daniel Drake Medal from the University of Cincinnati, which recognized his career long contributions to patient care, research and education.

In addition to numerous other awards, he also received the Ladd Medal from the Surgical Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Founder’s Award from the Cincinnati Pediatric Society.

Lester Martin’s career in surgery perfectly demonstrates the types of contributions made by American Surgical Association members to elevate the standards of the surgical profession through science and scholarship. He has left an indelible mark on Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the care of pediatric surgical disease around the world.