October 3, 2008
In memoriam: I. David Todres, MBChB

todresI. David Todres, MBChB, a pediatrician and anesthesiologist with the MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC), died Sept. 26 after a long illness. He was 73 years old. 

Widely regarded as a founding father of pediatric critical care medicine, Todres was a native of Cape Town, South Africa. He was educated at the University of Cape Town, where he received both his undergraduate degree in 1954 and medical degree in 1958. Todres completed his medical training at numerous hospitals in South Africa and England before joining the MGH as the associate director of the Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units in 1971, a post he held until 1978 when he became the director. Beginning in 1973, Todres also held various roles as a pediatrician and anesthetist. In 1998, he was appointed chief of the MGHfC Pediatrics Bioethics Unit. Throughout his career he also held numerous academic appointments at Harvard Medical School.

Todres was the recipient of many honors and awards, including the first Distinguished Career Award in Pediatric Critical Care from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Christer Grenvik Memorial Award for Ethics in Critical Care Medicine from the Society of Critical Care Medicine. He also was a recipient of a Fellowship for Clinical Pastoral Education for Health Care Professionals from the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center.

"David was extraordinary – always optimistic and concerned about others," says Ronald Kleinman, MD, physician-in-chief of the MGHfC. "He had an inquisitive nature and was connected to medicine, art, literature, ideas and above all, people. He will be missed very much." Adds Brian Cummings, MD, a colleague of Todres: "David was a great leader and mentor, but he also cared very much for 'the person' in going about his everyday life. He was a pioneer in his field and gentle at heart. He mastered not only the principles of his profession, but the philosophy of life and humanity."

Todres is survived by his wife, Judith Sharlin; his children, Rachelle, Nadia, Jonathan and Hillel; his grandson, John Nash; and his brother, Hymie. Burial services were held Sept. 28. A memorial professorship, the David Todres, MBChB, Lectureship in Pediatric Medical Ethics, is being established in his honor. Donations may be sent to the MGH Development Office, 165 Cambridge St., Suite 600, Boston, MA 02114.

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