Statement by President and CEO Paul S. Viviano on the passing of Morton M. Woolley, MD

Published on 
January 13, 2020

Morton Woolley Collage - smallerDr. Morton M. Woolley was a beloved surgeon, professor, pioneer and leader at Children's Hospital Los Angeles from 1960 until his retirement in 1992, who held a worldwide reputation for surgical repair of birth defects in premature and newborn infants. He served as CHLA's Division Head of Pediatric Surgery beginning in 1970 and was named Surgeon-in­Chief in 1975, a position he would hold for 15 years. His leadership helped grow CHLA into both an international referral center and a leading training program for all pediatric surgical specialties.

Here at CHLA, Dr. Woolley was well-known for his compassion, consideration and respect of patients, families and colleagues alike. He loved children and you could clearly see it, not only in the dedication he had to his chosen field but also in the smiles of his patients when he entered a room. One of his greatest passions was teaching, and he helped train many surgeons who have themselves become pioneers and leaders at universities and hospitals worldwide. He published countless articles on pediatric surgery, including "The Death of a Child," which remains a guiding source for medical professionals informing parents of their child's passing.

Dr. Woolley passed away on Dec. 11, 2019, at the age of 95, surrounded by loved ones. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Emma Jane Griffith Woolley, MD; his children Cynthia, Douglas and James; his two grandchildren and many beloved nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Children's Hospital Los Angeles or Loma Linda University Children's Hospital, where he trained and also practiced.

Paul S. Viviano
President and Chief Executive Officer
Children's Hospital Los Angeles