Dr. Carl Jelenko III dies emergency care pioneer

January 24, 1991

A memorial service for Dr. Carl Jelenko III, a native of Baltimore who helped to establish emergency medicine as a recognized specialty, will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 120 Allegheny Ave. in Towson.

Dr. Jelenko, who was 59 and lived on Round Oak Road in Towson, died Saturday at St. Joseph Hospital after a stroke. He retired in 1981 after an earlier massive stroke and moved to Towson from Dayton, Ohio.

He campaigned for the recognition of emergency medicine as a specialty and then, upon its establishment in 1976, became a member of the American Board of Emergency Medicine, which examines and certifies doctors who plan to practice in the field.

From 1978 until his retirement, he served as chairman of the department of emergency medicine and professor of surgery, community medicine and emergency medicine at Wright State University in Dayton.

He went there from the hospital of the Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta, where he was professor of surgery and director of the Burn Trauma Service.

Earlier, he had been an instructor in surgery at the University of Maryland and medical director of the emergency service at University Hospital.

A graduate of the University of Maryland Medical School, he was a surgical resident at University and an intern at Sinai Hospital.

While heading the emergency room at University, he and the head of the city Fire Department's ambulance service arranged a system of direct phone lines between hospital accident rooms and the Fire Department radio room so that the hospital and ambulance crews could communicate.

The system remained in use in the Baltimore area even after the establishment of direct radio contact between hospitals and crews.

The Baltimore native was a 1949 graduate of City College and attended Vanderbilt University, where he won an oratory award before completing his undergraduate studies at Loyola College.

He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1962 until 1964.

Winner of the James D. Mills Award of the American College of Emergency Physicians for his contributions to their specialty, he was a former president of the University Association for Emergency Medicine, a former associate editor of the Annals of Emergency Medicine and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

Author of more than 125 professional papers, many dealing with burns and their treatment or emergency medicine, he was a member of the American Burn Association, the Association of Academic Surgeons, the Southeastern Surgical Society, the American Trauma Society and the American Medical Association.

After his retirement, Dr. Jelenko served as a subject in stroke studies and also wrote poetry, painted, and did computer programming and origami, the Japanese art of folding paper.

He is survived by his wife of 27 years, the former Judith Matthews; his daughters, Judith Berkley Jelenko and Helen Mathis Jelenko, both of Towson, and a sister, Frances J. Fitch of Baltimore.

The family suggested memorial contributions to the Carl Jelenko III, M.D., Research Award of the Emergency Medicine Foundation, P.O. Box 619911, Dallas, Texas 75261.

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