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Drs. James & Lidia Wenz Killed in Accident

January 20, 2004

NOTE: Wenz Funeral Arrangement Information

The attached message was distributed this morning to all at Johns Hopkins Medicine.


With profound sorrow, we inform you that the husband and wife click on image for high resolutionkilled in the accident on I-83 early this morning were Drs. James and Lidia Wenz.  Their death is a loss not just to their children, but to the entire Johns Hopkins Medicine family and to the many patients who benefited from their skills.  As more information becomes available about memorial services, we will keep you informed.  In the meantime, we remind you of the enormous skills and promise lost to the world by their deaths:

A brilliant and innovative orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Wenz, 40, was chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and an attending surgeon at both Bayview and The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

A Somerville, NJ native, James Wenz received his B.S. in 1987 in biomedical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he did extensive research on prosthetic devices and mechanical properties of articular cartilage, knowledge which he brought into practical application in orthopedics.

After receiving his M.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1991, he completed his orthopaedic residency at Hopkins Hospital in 1996, where he received specialized training in joint reconstruction surgery, and then did a one-year fellowship with Dr. David Hungerford before joining the faculty in 1997.  He concentrated on total hip and total knee replacement surgery, the treatment of osteonecrosis, revision surgery for failed joint replacements and the use of cartilage transplantation. Some of these advanced techniques incorporated the use of minimally invasive approaches.  He performed hundreds of hip replacements through a four-inch incision, rather than the standard 10-12 inches.

A fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Dr. Wenz’s major areas of interest also included the care of fractures in geriatric patients.  He was conducting research in alternative treatments of arthritis, joint replacement surgery, cartilage transplant techniques and osteonecrosis, as well as in reconstruction after failed joint replacement surgery.  Outside of medicine, he once described his interests as “bicycling, ballroom dancing, computer imaging, snowmobiling, water-skiing and tennis.”

“Dr. James Wenz was the most brilliant innovator and technical surgeon ever to graduate from the Johns Hopkins Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program,” according to Frank Frassica, M.D., chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.  “He was an advocate for resident education and patient safety.  He will be tremendously missed not only by the Hopkins community but also on a regional and national level.  He was a true gentleman and was universally loved by his patients, colleagues and friends.”

Child psychiatrist Dr. Lidia Wenz, 44, received three degrees from the State University of New York in Buffalo (SUNY-Buffalo): a B.S. in nursing in 1983, a B.A. in psychology in 1984, and an M.D. in 1990. She trained in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, serving as a resident from July 1990 until 1993 and then completing a fellowship in child psychiatry.  An instructor in psychiatry at the time of her death, she was on the Johns Hopkins full-time faculty until 2001, when she left to spend more time with her children, Adrianna, now 8, and James Jr., now 7.  Both children also were injured in the accident, but are expected to recover from their injuries.

According to Department of Psychiatry Director Dr. J. Raymond DePaulo, Jr., “Lidia was as good as they come.  She was one of the best adult residents in her years of training and then became a wonderful child psychiatrist.  We all were planning her return to the full-time faculty when her children were older.  She as well as her husband will be sorely missed.”