Dr. Nicolas Buendia, 65, chief of neurology

April 17, 2001|By Marcia Myers | Marcia Myers,SUN STAFF

Dr. Nicolas Buendia, former chief of neurology at Franklin Square Hospital Center in Rosedale, died Friday of leukemia at Maine Medical Center in South Portland, Maine, where he lived. He was 65.

Dr. Buendia treated people who suffered from back pain, brain disorders, seizures, strokes and dementia.

He retired in 1996 and moved from Baltimore to South Portland the next year.

From the late 1970s to 1996, he was chief of neurology and head of the clinical neurophysiology laboratory at Franklin Square. He was also assistant professor of neurology and a staff member at the Johns Hopkins medical school and hospital.

In 1987, he was visiting scholar at the Institute of Neurology at National Hospital, Queen Square, London.

"He obviously had the brains for it, but he practiced neurology from his heart," said Dr. Jerry Fleishman, who shared a practice with Dr. Buendia for nine years. "There was something for him beyond the practice, getting into the patients' minds and finding out what was bothering them. His patients loved him."

Colleagues recalled Dr. Buendia as a thoughtful, humble, sincere and knowledgeable physician who made patients feel at ease.

"He was a gentleman in every respect of the word. He was dedicated to his family, his patients and his students," said Dr. Palbo Dibos, director of the department of nuclear medicine at Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore. "For several years, he was named by the residents' staff as the best teacher in the department at Franklin Square Hospital."

"Nicolas was a warm, kind physician and friend who was totally devoted to his oath and the care of his family," said Dr. Carlos A. Millan, chief of psychiatry at Maryland General Hospital in Baltimore.

Dr. Buendia was born in Bogota, Colombia, and received his medical degree in 1960 from that city's Javeriana University School of Medicine. He did his residency in neurology at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University from 1964 to 1967.

In 1997, Gov. Parris N. Glendening awarded him a citation for his contributions to his community and the medical profession.

Dr. Buendia enjoyed reading literature and history, traveling, jazz, bullfighting and golf.

He belonged to the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Neurology and the Maryland Medical Society.

His first wife, Maria Teresa Buendia, died in 1994 after 34 years of marriage.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 3 p.m. today at St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

Dr. Buendia is survived by his wife of four years, Cheryl Smith of South Portland; a son, Juan Manuel Buendia of Bronxville, N.Y.; two daughters, Monica Tremaglio of Herndon, Va., and Paola Buendia of Hoboken, N.J.; a stepdaughter, Amanda Smith of Raleigh, N.C.; a stepson, Brian Smith of Portland, Maine; a brother, Camilo Buendia of Atlanta; and six grandchildren.

Sun staff writer Jacques Kelly contributed to this obituary.

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