Dear Readers,

Ten years ago, I had a catastrophic medical event while playing basketball. Yes, I realize that 50-year-old Jewish guys should realize they have no NBA potential. I was rushed to Sinai Hospital, where I received amazing emergency care. I am alive because of the quality of that response.

After the emergency, I found out that while there were only a handful of specialists that focused on the issue, one was a member of the University of Maryland School of Medicine faculty. I have received world-class care at the University of Maryland Medical Center for the past decade.

We tend to take for granted the level of medical care available in Baltimore. Many U.S. communities lack access to basic primary care services and emergency care.

In Baltimore, with two nationally ranked medical schools and several high-quality regional systems, we are blessed with accessible, expert-driven health services. The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM), with their associated medical schools, produce a constant stream of highly trained, academically based physicians and support staff. These institutions attract world-class experts in both broad and narrow areas of medicine.  St. Joseph (UMMS) and Bayview (JHM) are community hospitals that take great advantage of their access to the large university systems and their services.

LifeBridge, Mercy and MedStar are very high-quality systems as well. LifeBridge, with Sinai and Northwest hospitals, serves a huge population in northwest Baltimore and Baltimore County. MedStar operates Union Memorial and Good Samaritan, serving many city residents. Many of their physicians come from the two local medical schools — particularly from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. These systems bring strong, hands-on care to many Baltimoreans in the city and the suburbs. Mercy Medical Center, in downtown Baltimore, has carved out a niche in women’s health and orthopedics.

By the way, let’s not forget the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr. Cowley, who served as chief of surgery for the U.S. Army in France and Germany in 1946 and 1947, first recognized the life-saving outcomes of fast interventional care for trauma patients. With the support of the Maryland government and with State Sen. Frank Kelly as a champion, the center became the international leader in caring for trauma patients. This doesn’t exist everywhere.

This issue delves into health care topics that I hope you find interesting. Carol Sorgen writes about cutting-edge efforts at local systems, while Alan Feiler presents the University of Maryland Sleep Disorders Center. There are also interesting articles on other community topics including The Associated’s new fundraising chair, Steven Fader, and the failure of Hungary to ever make reparations for the slaughter of the country’s Jews in the Holocaust.

Be safe, get a flu shot, lower your blood pressure, eat healthy and be well.

Scott Rifkin, MD, Publisher