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CENTERPIECE
 






A Dream Fulfilled—Posthumously
Bayview’s new orthopedic unit honors late surgeon James Wenz


This sculpture, near Bayview’s gazebo, honors the late James and Lidia Wenz. Their surviving children, represented in the statue, will always be, as the plaque notes, “a part of our family.” (Photo: JHBMC Media Services)

James Wenz understood that total joint replacements were life-altering experiences. But Wenz didn’t live to see his dream of a specialized unit for these patients and their families.

On May 10, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center will be honoring the memory of Wenz and his vision of patient-centered services when it inaugurates the Wenz Orthopaedic Unit.

The only high-amenity unit at Bayview, it is also the only orthopedic facility of its type within the medical institutions. “It will fulfill Dr. Wenz’s vision to improve the care of patients and their families following joint replacement surgery,” says Simon Mears, who will direct the special facility. “It will make recovery as comfortable as possible.”

Mears is chief of total joint arthroplasty (joint replacement) and trauma in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Bayview. Two surgeons, Michael Trice and Tariq Nayfeh, who recently joined the arthroplasty division, will work with him.

The new unit, which will predominantly serve patients needing hip or knee replacement, will feature 10 private rooms, sleeping arrangements for family members, a physical therapy and rehab center located on the same floor, a day room for patients and their families, and hotel-like amenities, such as DVD players, flat-screen TVs and Internet access.

Known for his pioneering surgical skills, Wenz, who was chairman of Bayview’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, was fascinated by research, medical training and patient care. “From the day he came here, Dr. Wenz wanted to do everything,” Mears recalls.

Wenz concentrated on total hip and total knee replacement surgery, the treatment of osteonecrosis (death of the bone), revision surgery for failed joint replacements and the use of cartilage transplantation. He performed hundreds of hip replacements through a four-inch incision, rather than the standard 10 to 12 inches.

He and his wife, child psychiatrist Lidia Wenz, died in a car accident in January 2004. Their two children survived.

Lydia Levis Bloch

 

 

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