In January, the world lost an incredible pediatric intensivist, and we lost a friend and partner in research. Hector Wong literally and personally moved our field forward with his mold-breaking innovative approach to problem solving. He focused his efforts on solving a fundamental conundrum in medicine, which is identifying subpopulations who respond to interventions in a predictable fashion, instead of the heterogeneous populations which we tend to accrue in many of our critical care clinical trials. He was far along down the path to solving this problem for critically ill children with septic shock, and he developed a panel of biomarkers which seemed to identify a subpopulation which benefited, and a different subpopulation who was harmed, by treatment with glucocorticoids. While dramatically improving outcomes in pediatric septic shock is of immense importance for the children of the world, the real brilliance of Hector’s work is that it was really a framework that could be applied more broadly over time to different populations, using different constellations of biomarkers. He had cracked open the door to personalized critical care medicine in the most significant way in our time.
Hector was a friend, teammate, confidante, advisor, and consultant to members of the SHIPSS study team. It was truly a privilege to have had him in our lives. Losing Hector is an extraordinary loss for the SHIPSS clinical trial that is underway, as well as for future trials that were in discussion and development. And it is a profound loss for his peers and colleagues, for our field, for science, and for sick children everywhere.
An eloquent summary of his tragically foreshortened life can be found here: https://scienceblog.cincinnatichildrens.org/in-memoriam-hector-wong-md-1963-2022/