Dr. Spock’s name is now Robert Needlman

Benjamin Spock died in 1998 and soon after that, his famous book has had one co-author: Dr. Robert Needlman.

Needlman is a pediatrician at MetroHealth Medical Center and associate professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University. He’s also a graduate of Yale Medical School and worked at Boston City Hospital. He’d been part of a team working on and got the job as the new Dr. Spock when he interviewed with Spock’s widow.

Needlman already was among a team of medical experts developing content for when he went to dinner with Morgan more than a decade ago to discuss becoming the revising author of the eighth edition of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care.

During the dinner, Needlman suddenly told Morgan he needed to leave.

Morgan was perplexed — until he explained that he had a nightly tradition of reading with his daughter, Grace, then 10, even when he was out of town and had to read over the phone.

He got the job.

“I said, ‘This is the kind of person that Ben would want to carry on his work,’ ” Morgan recalled.

Needlman has been sharing top billing with Spock for years on various books and handled the eighth edition of Spock’s famous book as well. The ninth edition of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, released Tuesday, adds advice on everything from immunizations and obesity to special needs children and video games.

Needlman had a literary reputation beyond Dr. Spock. His undergraduate degree at Yale was in English literature. While in Boston he helped start Reach out and Read, a  nonprofit that promotes the value of reading out loud to children. He’s also written for Yahoo! and Parent and Child Magazine.

[Photos courtesy of Wikimedia commons and Primrose Schools]

UPDATE: Morgan writes with these addendums.

“I hired Robert Needlman in 2000 to be the principle author of our new website, When I interviewed him, it was for that position. Later I asked Robert to be the co-author of the 8th edition.  There were no editors doing the 8th edition.
Robert did a major revision of the 8th edition which took him 3 years to complete, and his name appears on the cover as “fully revised and updated by Robert Needlman”.  I wouldn’t want to take that away from him.  It was  a job that editors could never had done.”