Nanticoke Honors Native Son For His Pioneering Medical Invention

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NANTICOKE -- A native of Nanticoke got a hero's welcome home this evening in Luzerne County.

Dr. Stanley Dudrick is hailed as a medical pioneer.

Fifty years ago, he invented a way to feed patients without having to go through their digestive systems. Since then, the technology has saved millions of lives.

“To Dr. Stanley J. Dudrick, we are proud to honor you today in our medical hometown of Nanticoke,” said Richard Wiaterowski, the mayor of Nanticoke.

The packed auditorium here at Luzerne County Community College erupted with a standing ovation. This was a moment to honor one of Nanticoke`s native sons.

Dr. Stanley Dudrick is hailed as a medical pioneer. He invented medical technology that allows patients to ingest nutrition without going through their digestive systems.

Dudrick created what`s known as Total Parenteral Nutrition, or TPN, in 1967.

Back then, he was a 32-year-old surgical resident at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.

TPN involves feeding patients concentrated nutrients directly into a large vein.

“Here, which is about where the superior vena cava is,” Dudrick said, pointing at his upper chest, near the heart. “And that vessel is about three quarters of an inch to an inch in diameter. So if you`re putting a little catheter in there about the size of a toothpick there’s enough room to dilute [the concentration] with the blood flow.”

Dr. Dudrick says he developed TPN out of frustration.

“We would do excellent surgery, I thought, but then they would die, we didn`t have enough critical care units, we didn`t have enough ways to feed them.”

“For having developed the technology that has saved millions, millions of lives and used in every hospital in the world,” said Mayor Wiaterowski.

At 82 years old, Dr. Dudrick now teaches at Geisinger-Commonwealth School of Medicine in Scranton. The technology he pioneered is considered one of the four major advances of modern surgery.

“Open heart surgery and organ transplant quite literally would not possible if we were not able to feed patients through the vein,” said Dr. William Iobst, the vice dean at Geisinger-Commonwealth.

“They tell me that 10 million babies in America have been saved by TPN,” said Dr. Dudrick.

A street sign bearing the text “Dr. Stanley Dudrick Drive” will be placed on W. Union Street in Nanticoke where Dudrick lived as a boy.

A historical marker documenting his trailblazing accomplishment will be placed at Nanticoke City Hall.

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