Sylvan Frieman

Longtime Obstetrician And Gynecologist Had Offices Across The Area, Worked For Hopkins Medical School

August 30, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,

Sylvan Frieman, a retired Baltimore obstetrician and gynecologist who was also a clinical assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School and worked with the homeless, died of congestive heart failure Aug. 22 at his Owings Mills home. He was 81.

Born in Baltimore, the son of a credit manager and a stenographer, Dr. Frieman was raised on Ridgewood Avenue in Northwest Baltimore.

After graduating from City College in 1945, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1949 from the University of Maryland, College Park. He earned his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1953.

FOR THE RECORD - An obituary for Dr. Sylvan Frieman in Sunday's editions of The Baltimore Sun omitted the name of a survivor. He is also survived by his sister, Marlene Saltzman of Pikesville.
The Baltimore Sun regrets the omission.

He completed an internship at the old District of Columbia General Hospital in Washington, and while serving in the Air Force for two years completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the old Lutheran Hospital in 1956.

Discharged from the Air Force with the rank of captain in 1956, Dr. Frieman entered private practice that year, opening an office on Read Street.

He later established his main office in the 800 block of N. Calvert St. and opened satellite offices in Highlandtown, Dundalk, Woodlawn and Reisterstown.

Dr. Frieman was later joined in his OB/GYN practice by Drs. Jerome Pleet and Richard Berkowitz, and eventually expanded to six offices.

"We were together from 1967 to 2000, and had also been next-door neighbors in Owings Mills," said Dr. Berkowitz, who retired in 2002 and now lives in Jackson, N.J.

"He was just super. When I was a resident at the hospital, Dr. Frieman watched me, and then one day said, 'We want you to join our practice,' " Dr. Berkowitz recalled.

"He really cared about his patients, and during our first few years together, he still made house calls. This was the era before sonograms, and if a patient was experiencing bleeding or spotting, he'd go right to their home to see them," he said.

"He always gave lots of excellent hands-on care, and I learned a lot from him. He was my mentor," Dr. Berkowitz said.

Dr. Berkowitz said that patients "loved Dr. Frieman," who he estimated delivered some 5,000 babies during his nearly 40-year career.

Dr. Frieman's wife of 18 years, the former May Norris, had been his office manager from 1970 to 1995, when he sold his practice to what is now Mercy Medical Center.

"He was very dedicated and always busy. In the morning he'd do surgeries, and then he'd have office hours in the afternoon and evening, as well as on Saturdays," Mrs. Frieman said.

"Also I saw him many times reach into his pocket and give money to a patient for a prescription they couldn't afford," she said.

In addition, Dr. Frieman was senior attending physician at Sinai, Church Home, Franklin Square and Harbor hospitals. He was an instructor at the old Lutheran Hospital School of Nursing and the old Church Home Hospital School of Nursing, and had been medical director of the Central Maryland Surgery Center.

He also was associate clinical professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and held a similar appointment at Hopkins.

Dr. Frieman had been president of the medical school alumni board at Maryland and had been a member and later chairman of the medical school's board of visitors. He also had headed the medical school's New Century Medicine Campaign and was later a member of its board.

He also volunteered with HomeCare for the Homeless and the Maryland attorney general's office, where he worked as a mediator.

In 1985, Dr. Frieman established and endowed a perinatology research fund in the department of OB/GYN at Maryland, and two decades later, added an endowed professorship.

Dr. Frieman was honored for his work at Maryland when he was awarded the Medical Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 1998 and the University of Maryland Illustrious Alumni Award in 2006.

He was a member of Beth El Congregation and had traveled around the world twice.

"His real hobby was medicine. Everything was medicine," his wife said.

His wife of many years, the former Doris Rosenblatt, died in 1989.

Services were Aug. 24.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Frieman is survived by a son, Dr. Robert Frieman of Reisterstown; two daughters, Dr. Moshay Cooper of Pikesville and Aimee Block of Rockville; a stepson, James Norris of Reisterstown; a stepdaughter, Lorraine O'Brien of Hampstead; 16 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

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