After a distinguished career of 45 years as a physician, and 20 years at Lurie Children’s (formerly Children’s Memorial), Peter Whitington, MD, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, will be retiring in May 2017.
In 1997, Children’s Memorial, recruited Dr. Whitington to create and launch a world-class pediatric transplant program. Envisioning a unique partnership, he assembled top medical and surgical transplant teams to care for patients. On August 1, 1997, the first liver transplant was performed at our institution. In 1999, Dr. Whitington received a significant funding commitment from the Siragusa family and established the Siragusa Transplantation Center. The Center ranks among the top pediatric transplant centers in the country, not just in volume, but also in patient survival rates. To date, 387 liver transplants have been done at Lurie Children’s.
Dr. Whitington has contributed greatly to the fields of pediatric hepatology and transplantation as a physician, leader, educator and scientist. He and his research team have defined the clinical, complex mechanism of liver injury and preventive treatment of gestational allo-immune liver disease (GALD). GALD is the leading cause of liver failure in newborns and is considered to be one of the most important causes of fetal loss during the second half of pregnancy. “He approaches perplexing, clinical problems with an ingenuity, steadfast drive and remarkable scientific insight that few in our field can match,” says Estella Alonso, MD, Medical Director of Liver Transplant Program. “His commitment to families across the globe who are affected by this disease is unparalleled and his insights have created a completely new paradigm for this disorder.
In 2014, Dr. Whitington was awarded the Shwachman Award by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition for his major contributions to the field of pediatric hepatology. He has served as a mentor for many physicians who have become successful academic hepatologists and transplant physicians and are leaders in their fields. He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and over 100 chapters and invited-reviews in a variety of areas in pediatric digestive diseases and has been a guest lecturer in 17 countries.
Under Dr. Whitington’s leadership, the transplant center has created a foundation in which all solid organ transplant programs at Lurie Children’s have thrived. He has treated thousands of young patients with liver disease and educated and inspired physicians around the world who have used his discoveries to improve the lives of countless children. His legacy will live on through the transplant center at Lurie Children’s and in the zealous commitment of researchers who emulate his passion for discovery and care.
On behalf of all of the staff at Lurie Children’s, we thank you, Dr. Whitington, and wish you well on this next exciting and well-earned chapter of your amazing career.
Throughout Dr. Whitington’s 45 years as a physician, he has made countless contributions to the field of pediatric hepatology and the care of so many children and families. In recognition of his dedication to improving lives, we invite you to make a gift in his honor by supporting pediatric liver research and furthering his legacy here at Lurie Children’s.
To make a gift online, visit www.luriechildrens.org/WhitingtonTribute, or mail to Lurie Children’s Foundation, Attn: Circle of Friends, 225 E. Chicago Avenue, Box 4, Chicago, IL 60611, specifying “Whitington Tribute.”