Dr. Emidio A. Bianco

Chief of medicine, head of education at St. Agnes later studied law and became medical legal officer

March 22, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Dr. Emidio Anthony Bianco, who successfully combined careers in medicine and law, died Tuesday of complications from Parkinson's disease at Howard County General Hospital. He was 84.

Dr. Bianco was born in Baltimore and raised on South Paca Street and Kinsey Avenue. After graduating from Polytechnic Institute in 1942, he enlisted in the Army.

"His first love was medicine, which was sparked while serving as a medical technician with a M.A.S.H.-type unit in Germany," said a daughter, Jayne E. Cohill of Santa Rosa, Calif.

After being discharged with the rank of master sergeant at war's end, he enrolled at Loyola College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1950. He earned his medical degree from Georgetown University Medical School in 1954.

Dr. Bianco, whose specialty was internal medicine, established a private practice in Woodlawn and later moved to an office near St. Agnes Hospital on Wilkens Avenue.

In 1960, Dr. Bianco became the first director of medical education at St. Agnes, and seven years later he was named the first full-time chief of medicine.

He was promoted to medical director and director of medical education in 1969.

"Prior to his coming to the hospital, a chief of medicine was more or less an honorary position. That's how they did it in those days," said George Moniodis, who had been director of government affairs at the hospital, and a close friend for 40 years.

"Med had a vision. He saw St. Agnes growing in a great market, and he knew he had to raise the medical standards. From 1969 on, he established medical standards for a community hospital that were second to none in Maryland. He raised it to new heights," Mr. Moniodis said.

"In the early 1970s, he hired the first full-time chairman for surgery, OB-GYN, pediatrics and medicine," he said.

"This is his medical legacy to St. Agnes, as well as educating young doctors. He wanted to recruit bright young men and women from all over the country and internationally, and bring them to St. Agnes as long as they had the credentials."

Dr. Ray D. Bahr, who was medical director of the Paul Dudley White Coronary Care System at St. Agnes before retiring in 2006, said Dr. Bianco made the hospital a better place.

"The patient always came first, and he improved patient care with his master plan. All the medical advances at St. Agnes are rooted in his having come onboard," Dr. Bahr said.

He recalled that Dr. Bianco was always available to staff and hospital employees.

"If you had a problem, his door was always open. He was always there when you needed him," he said.

Dr. Bianco was director of medical administration and education when he left St. Agnes in 1975 to serve as medical director of Mercy Southern Health Center in Baltimore, and later was chairman of the department of emergency medicine at Hanover General Hospital in Hanover, Pa.

He was an associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine from 1983 to 1992 and also taught anatomy at Georgetown University Medical School.

In the 1970s, Dr. Bianco decided to enter law school and enrolled at the University of Baltimore School of Law, from which he graduated in 1978.

"He was concerned about malpractice and frivolous lawsuits, so he left St. Agnes to go to law school," Dr. Bahr said. "This became a specialty and he was able to sort our the legitimate from the frivolous cases. He saw this later in his career as his mission."

From 1978 until his retirement in 1995, Dr. Bianco worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. He was medical legal officer and assistant chairman for professional affairs in the legal medicine department at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

From 1969 to 1991, he served in various peer review positions with the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland. He was a member of the Maryland Bar Association and the American College of Legal Medicine.

Dr. Bianco was retired from the Maryland National Guard, where he attained the rank of colonel.

The former longtime Catonsville resident, who had lived in Ellicott City since 1989, enjoyed all types of music, including opera, jazz and rock, family members said.

An accomplished violinist in his youth, Dr. Bianco ushered at the Hippodrome Theatre during the 1930s and early 1940s, when he met such musical legends as Jimmy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong, as well as other big band artists.

He had been a season ticket holder to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Colts and the Orioles.

Dr. Bianco was a communicant of the Roman Catholic Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City, where a Mass of Christian burial was offered yesterday.

Also surviving are two sons, Thomas J. Bianco of Catonsville and Joseph E. Bianco of West Friendship; five other daughters, Mary Kathryn Smith, Donna M. Imhoff, Frances M. Griffith and Mary Patricia Meehan, all of Ellicott City, and Mary Margaret Crawford of Glenwood; a brother, Henry Bianco of Sun City West, Ariz.; a sister, Paulina Collins of Ellicott City; 17 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Another daughter, Ann Alexander, died in 2004. His marriage to the former Mary Lancelotta ended in divorce.

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