Respected neonatologist and clinical researcher Marguerite (Peggy) Herschel, MD, 1939-2004

Respected neonatologist and clinical researcher Marguerite (Peggy) Herschel, MD, 1939-2004

July 16, 2004

Marguerite (Peggy) Herschel, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and medical director of the general care nursery at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital, died in her Hyde Park home after a six-year battle with breast cancer on July 9, 2004. She was 64.

Herschel was known for her efforts to improve the care of children born to impoverished mothers. She was recognized as an international authority on the management of hyperbilirubinemia, which can lead to jaundice in newborns, and the prevention of kernicterus, a devastating neurological disease. Dr. Herschel also wrote or co-authored about 40 scientific articles.

"Peggy set the bar very high and demanded the best for the patient. She always demanded that everything was done well and correctly," said Joel Schwab, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and director of medical student education at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital. "She was a terrific clinician. Her high standards served as a great role model of how things should be done."

"Peggy Herschel was a terrific teacher who was totally committed to her patients and her students," said Herbert T. Abelson, MD, professor of pediatrics and past chairman of the department of pediatrics at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital. "She was respected by all as a superior physician."

In June, Abelson, Schwab, and last year's chief residents at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital, Susan Crawford and Sandhya Desai, presented Herschel with a plaque, which now hangs in the Pediatric Residency and Training Program. The plaque states:

"Marguerite Herschel, M.D. 'A Superior Physician,' From Your Many Students, Residents and Colleagues, Who Applaud and Appreciate Your Unwavering Expectation, for the Very Best Teaching and Patient Care."

"Her constant vigilance and ability to advocate for her patients made her an excellent professor and physician," said Neethi Panicker, a current pediatric chief resident. "She was an amazing teacher who was dedicated to the education of her residents. She worked hard to ensure that we became better physicians and teachers ourselves."

Herschel graduated from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., in 1961 and received her medical degree from Tufts University of School of Medicine, Boston, in 1965. She completed residency training in pediatrics and neonatology at the former Boston City Hospital.

She began her medical practice as a neonatologist in 1971 at the Neponset Health Center and the former St. Margaret's Hospital, both in Boston. In 1993 she joined the University of Chicago Children's Hospital where she specialized in neonatal-perinatal medicine.

Herschel is survived by her husband of nearly 25 years, Robert Mittendorf, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Loyola University School of Medicine in Chicago; her two sons Robert William, of Chicago, and Jeffrey David, of Chandler, Ariz.; her daughter, Inga Noelle, of Chicago; her parents, Gladys Herschel, of Washington, D.C., and A.J. Herschel of Sarasota, Fla.; her biological father, James Mulvey, of Milton, Mass.; three sisters, Janet O'Brien, of Baltimore, Ellen Cresap, of Midland Park, N.J., and Jane Quiles, of Hawthorne, N.J.; and her brother, Michael Mulvey, of Milton.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. July 16 at First Parish, 535 Canton Ave., Milton, Mass. The burial will follow at Milton Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at the University of Chicago campus in August. The date for the service is yet to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, Dr. Herschel's family requests that donations be made to the Dr. Peggy Herschel Clinical Pediatrics Research Fund.