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A Trio Lost

David A. Nagey, M.D., Ph.D., 1950-2002.

As director of perinatal outreach for the School of Medicine, David Nagey traveled across the state seeing high-risk obstetric patients, regardless of their ability to pay. He was a consulting perinatologist for 10 Maryland hospitals, and his range was so far-reaching that between patient visits and telephone consultations, he was involved in roughly 1 percent of all deliveries in Maryland. Nagey, who earned his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Duke University, served on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine for 15 years before joining Hopkins' Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine in 1996. He was an associate professor of gynecology and obstetrics, with a joint appointment in the School of Public Health's Department of Population and Family Health Sciences.

You would think that David Nagey and I would have been rivals, because he had my job across town [at the University of Maryland]. But it was never like that. We just had a healthy mutual respect for each other. When I called him to see if he'd be interested in helping train our residents in Labor and Delivery, I never dreamed I'd be so lucky as to get him on the faculty here full time. He was the type of person we really wanted to have in the division.

So I put together a position that would allow him to do what he did best and what he loved to do. And he told people all the time that he had never been happier. He had no more administrative hassles.

David was the type of person you couldn't hold down in doing for others and doing for patients. We try to limit people's work hours, to give them time for research and personal time. But David would break the rules. He was the first to volunteer for duty. He was always finding a journal club to do here, a patient that needed to be seen there, he put some astounding number of miles on his car every month. His office hours were packed and his patients were devoted to him. Once, he was operating on a patient who was hemorrhaging and he had to go back in twice. I told him how bad I felt, but he brushed me off. I love doing what I do, he said. He was happy to save a life, even if it meant working until he nearly dropped. Hopkins attracts and keeps people who can never do enough, sometimes unfortunately for their own personal health.

David also was an extraordinary mentor. He always, always supported his people. Even if they did something wrong, he was there for them. That's the kind of person I think should be in a leadership position, because they get there not through power, but by true leadership.

David was 100 percent available, 24/7, on his beeper, whether it was 3 a.m. or he was on a plane or on vacation. He never wanted anyone to think it was an inconvenience. Now that he's gone, we've split up his job and it's taking five of us to cover what he covered. They say that everybody's expendable. Well, that's not true. You cannot replace David Nagey.

I do miss him. I have his picture in my office. David was someone I could go to because he had the experience. He was such a good colleague. It's tough to lose a friend and someone you look up to so much. It's a double loss.

Sharon Thompson
Chemotherapy Coordinating Nurse

Frederick J. Montz, M.D.   David A. Nagey, M.D., Ph.D.   Jeffery A. Williams, M.D.




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