Dr. Robert Biern, 66, pioneer in heart medicine

August 09, 1999|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,SUN STAFF

Dr. Robert O. Biern, a noted cardiologist, died Saturday at his Annapolis home after a long illness. He was 66.

Dubbed "Dr. Bear" by his patients, Dr. Biern had a major role in creating one of Maryland's early coronary care units at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis in 1967 and was director of that unit for 17 years.

He also directed the hospital's noninvasive cardiac laboratory.

"He was a very strong influence for the medical community in our hospital," said Dr. Stanley Watkins, a close colleague of Dr. Biern's. "He led the way in innovative, reasonable approaches to patients with cardiac problems.

"Dr. Biern had an unbelievable following with patients who had grown old with him and his care," Dr. Watkins said.

"He was a kind gentleman, never in a hurry."

Dr. Richard Peeler, a former partner, said, "He collected teddy bears from his childhood up to when patients gave them to him in his practice."

A native of Huntington, W.Va., Dr. Biern received an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and a medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he later taught.

In 1966, he joined Dr. Peeler and Drs. Gerard Church and Frank Shiply to form a cardiology and internal medicine practice in Annapolis. Dr. Biern continued with the group until his recent retirement from Annapolis Medical Specialists.

Dr. Biern was a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians, and was a member of the Council of Clinical Cardiology of the American Heart Association, the American Society of Echocardiography and the Association of Black Cardiologists.

He was also a member of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland and the Anne Arundel County Medical Society.

He belonged to the Princeton Club of New York and was president of the board of friends of St. John's College. In May, he was named an honorary alumnus of the Annapolis institution.

A memorial will be held at 3 p.m. tomorrow at the Great Hall of McDowell Hall at St. John's College, 60 College Ave.

He is survived by his wife, the former Mary Catherine Harris, whom he married in 1959; and two daughters, Catherine A. Biern of Annapolis and Charlotte E. Biern of Charlottesville, Va.

Pub Date: 8/09/99

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