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ROBERT EDWARD GROSS
July 2, 1905–October 11, 1988
BY FRANCIS D. MOORE AND JUDAH FOLKMAN
DURING A REMARKABLE CAREER as one of America's great pioneers of surgery Robert E. Gross made many contributions that have altered the practice and understanding of surgery, pediatrics, and cardiology throughout the world. These include the performance for the first time of successful major surgery on the great vessels near the heart, with the ligation of a patent ductus arteriosus on August 26, 1938; the first successful corrective surgery of coarctation of the aorta in 1945; the performance of several other important, innovative surgical procedures; and one of the largest series in the world of successful open heart repairs of congenital anomalies of the heart in infants and children. In 1941 Dr. Gross joined his professor, Dr. William E. Ladd, in publishing the first textbook on surgery in children, defining for the first time this new field of learning and practice.
For more than forty years Robert Edward Gross was engaged in pediatric surgery at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. From 1947 to 1966 he was the William E. Ladd Professor of Child Surgery at Harvard Medical School and the surgeon-in-chief at that hospital.
Gross was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 2, 1905, the son of Charles Jacob and Emma Houch Gross. His fa-