Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Mark Puder
Nominated by Raeanne Kufeke
Dr. Mark Puder is one of the country’s most outspoken and leading physicians on the development of best care practices for gastroschisis patients and long term care. Dr. Puder is known in the gastroschisis community as being the pediatric surgeon who is willing to go above the call of duty to make sure babies and children have access to life saving and life improving care, even if it means staying longer hours. For a physician who works at one of the United State’s most reputable hospitals with a booked clinical schedule, he is very quick to respond to any patient’s emerging needs and concerns from anywhere in the world. Dr. Puder has continued to be a strong ally and supporter of gastroschisis families and Avery’s Angels Gastroschisis Foundation for the past 5 years. His research and advocacy for omegaven has been critical in the survival and outcomes for many of our long term gastroschisis medically affected patients. Without competent, experienced and dedicated pediatric surgeons, gastroschisis patients would die. While no one desires for babies and children to require invasive surgery at birth, those who dedicate their lives to saving lives in this masterful way are truly unique human beings. Being a surgeon requires substantial, studied skill and considerable fortitude. As the first Avery Lifetime Achievement Award in Pediatric Surgery, Dr. Puder not just an expert pediatric surgeon- he provide the guiding example as a physician who exemplified communication, empathetic bedside manner, long term dedication to your patients and their families in addition to advocating for best care for gastroschisis globally.
Gastroschisis is a rare disease, marking unique and necessary care a distinctive talent. Our national and international families have recognized Dr. Puder’s genuine dedication to our babies and long term care patients as being matchless. For his dedication to the field of pediatric surgery, family centered care, best care and fearless advocacy for the rare disease gastroschisis, Avery’s Angels® Gastroschisis Foundation is proud to recognize Dr. Mark Puder, MD as our first annual 2014 winner of the Lifetime Achievement Avery Award. We hope the team at Boston Children’s Hospital proudly recognizes Dr. Puder’s incredible distinction as the total physician, advocate and the extraordinary care given to international gastroschisis families.
Thank you, Dr. Puder so much for the dedication you have shown to our families and this condition.
Dr. Mark Puder was nominated by Raeanne Kufeke, mother of Faith Kufeke. “While Dr. Puder was not directly involved in Faith’s NICU stay, he played a critical role in bringing it to an end. In January 2009, after 2 1/2 months in the NICU with little to no progress toward getting Faith home, and significantly increasing damage to her liver, I contacted Dr. Puder by email to inquire about oral fish oil. He called me as early as could be considered “polite” the next morning, and strongly encouraged us to pursue Omegaven for her. Finally in March, after so much help from Dr. Puder and his staff, Faith was discharged from the NICU at Denver Children’s and she and I boarded a plane to Boston. While her doctors in Denver insisted that she needed to be evaluated and listed for a small bowel transplant, the word never entered Dr. Puder’s vocabulary (except in a mocking way!). After only 30 days on Omegaven, Faith’s bilirubin levels had gone from dangerously high to normal, and we were cleared to go home. Over the 6 weeks we spent in Boston, Faith gained 5 lbs and her tube feeds increased dramatically! In short, she had gone from a critically sick baby who slept 18+ hours a day and qualified for Omegaven based on the FDA’s “compassionate use” guidelines (meaning basically that she was going to die so it didn’t matter to them if they used an experimental medication on her) to an essentially healthy, happy baby with just a couple of accessory tubes to help her grow.
We followed up regularly with Dr. Puder for 2 years, until he did the surgery to remove her feeding tube in December 2010, thus making her officially a “normal” healthy child. Even though Faith doesn’t need to see Dr. Puder anymore, we know he is still available by email or phone if anything comes up (which thankfully has not happened!), and as long as he is practicing, he will be Faith’s surgeon if the need arises.
We recently learned that Faith has cerebral palsy, however her case is so mild that even the neurologists had a difficult time confirming the diagnosis. Considering that Faith most likely had CP when we went to Boston, and that her behavior and development at that time was consistent with the diagnosis we didn’t know she had, I firmly believe that the Omegaven not only saved Faith’s liver, but also potentially healed the damage to her brain to make her cerebral palsy virtually undetectable.
Without Dr. Puder’s care, it is very likely that Faith would have had a small bowel transplant, and considering the 50 % survival rate at 5 years post-transplant (at the time she would have had one), it is very likely that Faith would not be here today. We give Dr. Puder (and God) all of the credit for taking Faith from the little orange 9 lb. four-month-old with a 22% chance to survive the liver failure she suffered from, to the amazing, incredibly smart, loving, happy, and HEALTHY almost 6-year old she is today.”