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County Executive Ken Ulman: Generations Born at HCGH

Ken, Jaki and Lily Ulman
Ken, Jaki and baby Lily Ulman.

Diana and Lou Ulman moved to Columbia in 1972. HCGH had been open less than one year when Diana Ulman went into labor with her first child in May of 1974. 

At that time, HCGH referred high-risk mothers and babies to The Johns Hopkins Hospital for delivery, but Diana was anticipating a normal delivery with her husband Lou by her side every step of the way—a practice that was fairly new at the time.

Things did not go as anticipated. Diana recalls, “Ken was more than nine pounds, and it was a difficult delivery. Four hours after he was born, Ken turned blue.” Nurses told Diana that he was cyanotic. During the early days, pediatricians were not always at the hospital; instead they maintained an on-call schedule. Pediatrician Joel Katz, M.D., was on call that night, and when Ken turned blue again eight hours after his birth, Dr. Katz made the decision to transport him to Hopkins for special care. It was the right decision, but it was difficult for Diana to be separated from her new son. Diana recalls that everyone was worried about sending this little baby alone to Hopkins. “One of the nurses was going off duty and offered to ride down in the ambulance with the baby, and another employee followed the ambulance so that the nurse could return home,” remembers Diana who called every half hour to check on Ken. “The nurses at Hopkins were great – they were very patient with me every time I called.” Ken did well at Hopkins, and he was soon released home.

Since then, HCGH services have continued to evolve to meet the needs of babies like Ken. These important changes were in place for the next generation of Ulmans when Ken and his wife, Jaki, chose HCGH to welcome their daughter, Lily, into the world in 2005. Ken recalls, “The hospital had beautiful new rooms and all of the resources of a modern hospital. We’ve come a long way.” Now serving as Howard County Executive, Ken and the county government continue to support the hospital. He is proud of his status as one of the early babies born at HCGH, explaining, “I consider the county funding given to HCGH an investment in better service for the citizens of Howard County.” Diana agrees, “We’ve used the hospital over the years—as any family would—and we’ve found it to be a wonderful facility. We are lucky to have it in our community.”