The Department of Pediatrics at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital has its earliest roots dating back to 1767 when New York was still a British colony. At that time pediatrics was part of King's College, later to be named Columbia University. The first Chairman of the department died after only two years in office, and was then succeeded by one of America's most distinguished physicians, Dr. Samuel Bard. In addition to writing the first paper on medical ethics in the English language, he wrote the first definitive description of diphtheria and described a method of intubation for cyanotic newborns. He also became Dean of Medicine at the newly named Columbia College and President of the College of Physicians & Surgeons.
In 1887, a hospital designated solely for children became a reality when five determined women purchased a brownstone house at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 55th Street, near the site of Bloomingdale's today. Because the mortality of children was highest in the first three years of life at that time, the facility was named The Babies' Hospital. Dr. L. Emmett Holt, another of America's preeminent pediatricians, became its first medical director. Dr. Holt's textbook of pediatrics published in 1896 was the definitive textbook in English for the next 40 years, and his handbook of child care has sold millions of copies.
In 1900, the Rockefeller family funded the construction of a new Babies' Hospital at the same site, a 10-story state-of-the-art building that still stands to this day. However, by the 1920s even this building was too small, so Babies' Hospital joined Presbyterian Hospital, the Neurological Institute and the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University, to build Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, located between West 165th and 168th Streets and Broadway. The site had formerly housed the baseball field where the New York Yankees first played in 1903. The location of the new hospital would also be in close proximity to the George Washington Bridge that would link Manhattan with New Jersey.
The new Babies' Hospital opened in 1929, just several weeks prior to the Stock Market Crash. Though the age of children treated was raised from 3 to 12, the 190-bed hospital still retained its original name. Dr. Rustin McIntosh was appointed Chairman. A famed pediatrician, his textbook, Holt-McIntosh's Pediatrics, would remain in print into the 1970s.
During this period, a modern Department of Pediatrics was born at Babies' Hospital. A number of independent subspecialties — among the first in the country — were established, including pediatric radiology, pediatric neurology, and neonatology. Many syndromes were described for the first time, such as the Kasabach-Merritt syndrome, McCune-Albright syndrome, Riley-Day syndrome and Shaken Baby syndrome. Hospital physicians identified the difference between celiac disease and cystic fibrosis, described the sweat test for cystic fibrosis, and created the Apgar score. In 1968 a new building was erected adjacent to the 1929 building, making available every clinical service for children. Dr. Michael Katz, a renowned specialist in infectious diseases, became Chairman for 15 highly productive years during which the first pediatric heart transplant was performed, the syndrome of persistent fetal circulation was described, as well as the continuous positive alveolar pressure (CPAP) for premature infants was developed. Dr. John Driscoll, another esteemed pediatrician, served as Chairman for the next 15 years.
In 2003, a new children's hospital took its place beside the existing buildings, equipped with the latest technologies and equipment and fostering a philosophy of family-centered care. Named NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, the new hospital provides care and treatment of infants, children and young people to the age of 21. Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital offers the highest quality of care in every area of pediatrics, including the most complex neonatal and critical care, and all pediatric subspecialties. In 2008, Dr. Lawrence Stanberry, one of America's foremost specialists in pediatric infectious diseases, became Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics. Some 241 years since its inception, the Department of Pediatrics continues to be at the forefront of advances in the care and treatment of children.