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 Drspock.com 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 www.drspock.com 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.
UPDATE: Morgan writes with these addendums.