“If you are a neonatologist, you are taking care of the entire individual — the neonate — unlike other subspecialties where you are focused on a specific organ.” – Dr. Eduardo Bancalari
At the time that I went into neonatology it was a very new field with tremendous opportunity for improvement. We knew very little, and it was and is a specialty where anything you do has a lifelong effect, so I think that those were the major reasons why I decided to go into neonatal care. If you are a neonatologist, you are taking care of the entire individual — the neonate — unlike other subspecialties where you are focused on a specific organ. I don’t have anything against other subspecialties, but I like to take care of the entire patient, not just an organ.
Although the name of the book is The Newborn Lung, it really is much broader than that — it covers all of the respiratory system and all of the issues regarding respiration in the newborn. Most of the neonates, especially the preterm infants who require intensive care, have some degree of respiratory failure issues, so I think that that’s why most of the research and the advances have been in the area of respiratory facility and respiratory care. Initially, the idea was to come out with a second edition where the chapters would be revised, but there was really so much advancement that practically all of the chapters in the second edition are new.
In terms of a personal message to the readers, all I can say is that if they are interested in neonatology then they are in the right area of medicine. I don’t think that there is any other area that has made the progress over the last 30–35 years that neonatology has made in terms of survival. Now most of the effort has to be placed on the quality of the babies who are surviving and that’s a major issue in neonatology, and the lung plays a very significant role there. So many of the chapters in The Newborn Lung are focused specifically on strategies to improve outcomes so the babies have a better life later on. It’s a moving target: in the four or five years between the first and second edition it’s amazing how many things have changed. So you always have to be critical, and you always have to be questioning what is next, because things are clearly moving forward and the only way they move is by people asking questions and doing the right research.
Dr. Eduardo Bancalari is a professor of pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology and the director of the Division of Neonatology at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, and the Chief of Newborn Service at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He has authored more than 200 books, book chapters, peer-reviewed articles, and other original works. He is author of the second edition of The Newborn Lung, a volume in the Neonatology Questions and Controversies series.
Dr. Bancalari holds undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Chile, and completed an internship and pediatric residency at the Luis Calvo Mackenna and El Salvador Hospitals in Santiago, Chile. He is a member of numerous national and international organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Thoracic Society, the European Society for Pediatric Research, the American Board of Pediatrics, and many others. He has been recognized for his work in the field with the University of Miami School of Medicine Dean’s Research Award for Career Achievement, the Project Newborn Distinguished Chair in Neonatology, the Duane Alexander Award for Academic Leadership in Perinatal Medicine, and the Virginia Apgar Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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