Dr. Thomas Lebherz, 79, a UCLA professor of obstetrics and gynecology who helped pioneer surgical treatment for the urinary incontinence that some women suffer as a complication of giving birth, died of cancer Thursday at UCLA Medical Center.
In addition to his work on treating incontinence, Lebherz researched causes of premature births and the use of amniocentesis to detect congenital problems in a fetus during the second trimester of pregnancy.
A renowned teacher often called "the resident's friend," Lebherz was also an active obstetrician. He delivered more than 10,000 babies during his long career, including 24 in one 24-hour period at the Naval Hospital in Corona. After reading about the feat in 1954, the late Groucho Marx invited Lebherz to appear on his TV show, "You Bet Your Life."
Educated at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md., and Georgetown Medical School, Lebherz was a career Navy doctor until tuberculosis forced his military retirement in 1968. During his service, he was chief of obstetrics and gynecology at naval hospitals in Bethesda, Md., Oakland and San Diego. He joined the UCLA faculty in 1970.