Neonatology on the Web

Louis Gluck (1924-1997)

Louis Gluck (1924-1997)

Many of the biographers of Dr. Louis Gluck refer to him as the “father of neonatology.”

Born in Newark, New Jersey, he was educated at Rutgers, graduating in 1948, and then attended the University of Chicago School of Medicine. In 1959, he became the first director of the Division of Neonatology at Stanford, later holding faculty positions at Yale, UC San Diego, and UC Irvine.

Gluck made many important contributions to neonatology as it developed into a true pediatric subspecialty, among them are his identification of the importance of handwashing in the prevention of Staph aureus sepsis in the nursery, the design of the first modern open-room neonatology intensive care unit at Yale New Haven, which opened in October 1960, and the development of the Lecithin/Sphingomyelin Ratio (L/S Ratio) test to assess fetal lung maturity. He received more than 35 national and international awards, edited more than a dozen professional journals, and authored more than 300 articles during his career. For those of us who were trained in neonatology in the late 1970s, he was already a legend.

Dr. Gluck died of cancer in 1997 at the age of 73 in Laguna Hills, California. He was survived by his wife of 50 years, three sons, and a daughter.

Above: The Yale-New Haven NICU designed by Dr. Gluck as it looked in 1967, essentially unchanged from when it opened in 1960. It was later expanded and then replaced with a new, state-of-the-art 68-bed NICU in 2018.