About Dr. Kathryn Bass

I’m an experienced pediatric surgeon with more than 20 years of experience, during which I’ve served in many leadership roles, including Professor of Surgery, Director of a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, and Co-Director of a Pediatric Wound Care Center.

I am a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and am certified in both general and pediatric surgery by the American Board of Surgery. I graduated medical school with honors from Northwestern University in Chicago in 1989. I did my general surgery training in Boston at Tufts University and completed my pediatric surgery training at the University of Colorado in Denver. I also earned an executive MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and have additional board certification in Wound Care Management.

I have expertise in minimally invasive surgery, surgery for congenital anomalies of the newborn, and chest and abdominal surgeries in childhood. My core research interests include trauma and wound care innovations. In addition, I’m passionate about the fight against gun violence.

My peers have recognized me as one of the nation’s leading pediatric surgeons, and I was honored to be a “Top Doctor” in Western New York in the pediatric surgery category for the past 11 years.

Personal Values

There’s nothing more precious in our world than our children. They’re our greatest gift and deserve our unwavering love and care. We all have an obligation to help them learn, grow and thrive — and I’ve committed my professional life to protecting and nurturing them.

I’m deeply committed to training and mentoring future generations of pediatricians and surgeons. I benefited from having outstanding teachers and it’s more important than even for students, residents and others to have caring and relatable role models. As a seasoned female surgeon, it’s especially important to share my knowledge and encouragement with aspiring female physicians, and with young girls interested in the sciences in general.

I believe in serving the underprivileged and assisting those in low-income communities as they battle the many social determinants of health that are stacked against them, including access to healthcare, healthy foods, transportation, safe neighborhoods and education.

I have a thirst for knowledge and continuing education, and encourage all of those with whom I work to continuously learn, improve and challenge norms/paradigms.

A Note from Dr. Bass to Parents:

As a parent myself, it is important to me that I am transparent in addressing concerns some may have after reading an online article about the care I provide to my patients.

There’s nothing more precious in our world than our children. They’re our greatest gift and deserve our unwavering love and care. We all have an obligation to help them learn, grow and thrive — and I’ve committed my professional life to protecting and nurturing them. My work over the last two decades reflects that, and I look forward to continuing to serve families in Virginia.

It matters to me that I’m practicing the best medicine for my patients. Complications can occur when performing surgery, and part of my job is helping families understand those potential complications ahead of time. To resolve the case outlined in the article as quickly as possible, I did not contest one of the charges—neither denying nor admitting guilt—in the treatment of the patient. I denied all other charges. I agreed to the resulting settlement, receiving a formal reprimand and two years’ probation, during which another surgeon oversaw my practice and reviewed my records.

Third-party pediatric surgical experts, including a leader in pediatric surgical quality at The American College of Surgeons, as well as the state health boards in Illinois and Texas (where I have also practiced medicine) reviewed the case and found it to be without merit. They took no action that would impact my license to practice medicine in those states. The Virginia Board of Medicine concurred. Unfortunately, the article did not include these findings.

I appreciate you taking the time to hear my thoughts on this story. As with most things one finds on the internet, there’s quite a lot happening below the surface. Despite this, I have been very fortunate in my career. I’ve had the privilege of helping children and their families in their greatest hour of need. And I’ve been part of a strong support network of colleagues and friends from across the country who have shown me great respect for my commitment, dedication, and skills as a surgeon.

In my quest for transparency, I’m including a couple questions below that patients and parents have asked me from time to time.

1. I read some troubling things online about a case you handled. Can you tell me what happened?

I can’t go into details of any particular case due to patient privacy regulations. In general, complications can occur when performing surgery, and part of my job is helping families understand those potential risks ahead of time. Throughout my career, I’ve been transparent about the circumstances surrounding this case. And I’ve had the benefit of seeing the case reviewed by several third-party experts. They found the allegations to be without merit. My peers have recognized me as one of the nation’s leading pediatric surgeons, and I was honored to be a “Top Doctor” in Western New York in the pediatric surgery category for the past 11 years. It may help you to know that I’ve never had a malpractice claim against me — a rarity for a pediatric surgeon of more than 20 years.

2. I read that a state regulator found that you deviated from accepted standards of care. How do you explain that?

A leader in pediatric surgical quality at The American College of Surgeons, as well as the state health boards in Illinois and Texas, reviewed these cases and exonerated me, finding the allegations without merit. They took no action that would impact my license to practice medicine in those states. Virginia followed suit recently when they issued me my license to practice.