Adam Francis Patrick Szczypinski Sr., 68, surgeon who practiced over 40 years

November 17, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Dr. Adam Francis Patrick Szczypinski Sr., a retired Baltimore surgeon who was known for his meticulousness in the operating room and concern for the welfare of his patients, died of leukemia Sunday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Timonium resident was 68.

Until retiring in April, Dr. Szczypinski, whose sub-specialty was vascular surgery, had practiced medicine more than 40 years and had an office in the 1400 block of E. Joppa Road in Towson.

He also served on the staff of Union Memorial Hospital, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Franklin Square Hospital Center, Mercy Medical Center, St. Joseph Medical Center and Good Samaritan Hospital. He was an associate professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

"He was a surgeon who really enjoyed taking care of his patients, and he took care of the whole patient," Dr. David Peichert, a Baltimore cardiologist, said yesterday. "To be a good doctor, you have to like people, and he did.

"Today, a lot of surgeons are high-tech. They do their job, and that's it. He continued to monitor his patients' progress and invested lots of time in them. He really loved medicine, and he did his best to understand a patient's problems completely. It's no wonder they worshiped him."

Dr. Szczypinski often found himself at odds with managed care, preferring to deal quickly and directly with patients.

"He was the kind of guy who resisted managed care," Dr. Peichert said. "He didn't like the idea of having a gatekeeper, middleman or some other bureaucrat between the physician and patient. That wasn't his style."

A quiet, physical person, Dr. Szczypinski enjoyed boating, SCUBA diving and skiing, said Dr. Peichert. But if "he had something to say, he got his point across."

Dr. E. George Elias, a Baltimore cancer surgeon who had known Dr. Szczypinski since they were residents at Union Memorial, said he "was a superb surgeon and one of the early vascular surgeons when that discipline began developing in the 1960s. He was a very classy fellow."

Dr. Elias described Dr. Szczypinski as a "very meticulous surgeon," who "carefully tied off each blood vessel when operating. His sections where always neat and clean. It was a habit of his."

Visiting his patients in the morning and again in the afternoon was part of Dr. Szczypinski's daily routine.

"He was wonderful with them," Dr. Elias said. "It's no wonder they were crazy about him."

Dr. Szczypinski's wife of 20 years, the former Susan Boyer, said: "He had the most amazing ability to balance both family and a career. He always put in long hours but made sure he was home at 6 p.m. for dinner with his family, and then he'd often go out again."

Dr. Szczypinski's professional memberships included the American Medical Association, Baltimore County Medical Association and the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland.

Born and raised in Patterson Park, Dr. Szczypinski received a bachelor's degree from the Johns Hopkins University in 1953.

His parents owned Adams Boat Rentals on Hart Island in Baltimore County, and he worked there crabbing and renting boats to help earn money to attend the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, receiving his medical degree in 1957.

After completing his surgical internship and residency at Union Memorial, he joined the Navy. He was a physician at the Naval Hospital in Beaufort, S.C., from 1962 until 1964, when he was discharged as a lieutenant.

Dr. Szczypinski had a lifelong interest in boats and deep sea fishing and had earned his captain's license from the Coast Guard.

"He used to take out fishing parties, but in recent years just enjoyed fishing with family and friends from the Dixie Darling II, his 40-foot Jersey sport fishing boat," Mrs. Szczypinski said.

Dr. Szczypinski was a member of the Baltimore Yacht Club.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. today at Towson Presbyterian Church, 400 W. Chesapeake Ave.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by four sons, Adam Francis Patrick Szczypinski Jr. and Keith E. Szczypinski, both of Baltimore, John P. Szczypinski of Chapel Hill, N.C., and Jeffrey W. Szczypinski of Wake Forest, N.C.; and three grandchildren.

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