Shock-Trauma founder praised at funeral

November 05, 1991|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Evening Sun Staff

The late Dr. R Adams Cowley had to battle relentlessly to see his dream of a new system for treating accidents victims come to fruition.

Dr. Cowley was the founder of the Maryland Shock-Trauma Center in Baltimore. He died Oct. 27 at 74 at his home, of a heart ailment.

His memory was praised by a bevy of Maryland political leaders, among them Gov. William Donald Schaefer and former Gov. Marvin Mandel, at services yesterday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lutherville.

The services were videotaped so they may one day be seen and appreciated by Dr. Cowley's infant son, R Adams Cowley 2nd, who was a month old yesterday.

Dr. Cowley's survivors also include his second wife, Roberta Schwartz Cowley of Baltimore; a daughter, Kay Cowley Pace of Santa Cruz, Calif.; three grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Internment was at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

It had been while Dr. Cowley was an Army surgeon just after World War II in Europe that he first began developing his ideas about quick treatment of the seriously injured people.

Dr. Cowley developed the idea that there is a "golden hour" just after a serious injury, during which prompt and coordinated medical treatment can save lives.

He began with a two-bed research unit at the University of Maryland Hospital in 1961, and worked to build his dream, living to see the opening in 1989 of the eight-story Shock-Trauma Center in Baltimore, which was named for him.

Rep. Helen D. Bentley, R-2nd, called Dr. Cowley "one of the greatest figures in modern medicine . . . around the world." She also said he was a visionary "decades ahead of his time."

Mandel, who has been credited with intervening to bring Shock-Trauma into existence, testified to Dr. Cowley's unique qualities. "He was arrogant, determined, stubborn and difficult to get along with," but he had to be, Mandel said, to see his dream through.

Schaefer said he was thinking as he peered from his car window on the way to the funeral that "there will be an accident somewhere today, and a life will be spared," because of the system that Dr. Cowley set up.

"He was a driven man, a perfectionist," but he put Maryland on the medical map, Schaefer said.

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