James P.G. Flynn

[Age 71] A pulmonary specialist, he served as acting director of Maryland Shock Trauma Center for three years.

October 11, 2007|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN REPORTER

Dr. James Patrick George Flynn, who headed the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center as its acting director and was medical officer for the Maryland National Guard, died of cancer Tuesday at the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. He was 71 and lived in Towson.

During his career in medicine and medical administration, Dr. Flynn had been director of the Montebello Rehabilitation Hospital in Northeast Baltimore and the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems. He was also chief medical officer at University Specialty Hospital on South Charles Street and the Kernan Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital near Dickeyville.

Dr. Flynn "cared so much about people and their well-being. He was a person who was always ready to provide a leadership role," said John Ashworth, senior vice president of the University of Maryland Medical System and associate dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Because of his great people skills and his management style, he was able to bring elements of the medical system into higher levels of excellence."

Born in Carrick-on-Shannon in the west of Ireland, Dr. Flynn was the son of a prominent Irish judge. Known as Seamus, he earned undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Dublin/Trinity College. He came to Baltimore in 1964 and did his residency training in preventive and internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He had a master's degree in public health from the Hopkins School of Public Health.

A pulmonary specialist, Dr. Flynn had been the state's chief of the Division of Respiratory Diseases in the 1970s. In 1981, he became medical director of Montebello State Hospital and its director five years later. In 1989, after Dr. R Adams Cowley announced his retirement from the shock trauma center he created 25 years before, Dr. Flynn was named the center's acting director, a post he held for three years, while he simultaneously ran Montebello.

Friends described him yesterday as a gifted communicator who had a memory for names. He was called the "man with the Rolodex brain." They called him persistent, calm and polite.

"We needed someone who could help heal the loss created by Dr. Cowley," said Dr. Morton I. Rapoport, former chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical System. "He was an outstanding physician who related well with the academics but who also worked well with the doctors in the community. Seamus was trusted and respected by all."

Shock Trauma's lobby has been named in Dr. Flynn's honor and a University of Maryland Medical System memorial fund has been established in his name.

"He was a humble giant," said former state Sen. Francis X. Kelly. "We needed somebody to keep the place going, and Seamus was perfect because everybody trusted him."

Dr. Flynn was a fellow of the American College of Physicians, the College of Chest Physicians, American College of Preventive Medicine and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

He held academic appointments in the departments of neurology and epidemiology and preventive medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, as well as in the departments of medicine and epidemiology at Hopkins.

He was a former president of the Baltimore City Medical Society, the Maryland Thoracic Society, the Maryland division of the American Geriatric Society and a former secretary of the Maryland State Medical Society.

Dr. Flynn was the Maryland National Guard's state surgeon, its chief medical officer, for many years. After retirement, he was appointed as a brigadier general in the Maryland Defense Force.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Oct. 20 at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Ware Avenue, Towson, where he was a member.

Survivors include his wife of 41 years, the former Lacy Boyle; and two brothers, Cathal Flynn of Coronado, Calif. and Anthony C.M. Flynn of Geneva, Switzerland..


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