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Fredrick J. Montz, MD 1955–2002

December 2002 · Vol. 14, No. 12
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The staff of OBG management offers its sincerest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Dr. Fredrick J. Montz, coauthor of “HRT and cancer: quantifying the risk” and a member of OBG Management’s Board of Editors since April 2001. Dr. Montz passed away on November 21, 2002, at age 47, after suffering a fatal cardiac arrhythmia while jogging. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen M. Ryan, MD, and 4 children.

“With the tragic and untimely passing of Dr. Montz, the field of obstetrics and gynecology lost a great innovator and outstanding clinician,” notes OBG Management Editor-in-Chief Robert L. Barbieri, MD. “Dr. Montz will always be remembered for his joy for life and his heartfelt support of students, residents, and junior colleagues.”

A nationally recognized authority on minimally invasive techniques that preserved fertility in the treatment of gynecologic cancers, Dr. Montz was professor of gynecology, obstetrics, oncology, and surgery at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Kelly Gynecologic Oncology Service at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“Rick Montz was an outstanding physician, surgeon, investigator, mentor, and friend, and a source of boundless compassion, skill, and energy,” said Harold E. Fox, MD, professor and director of gynecology and obstetrics at Hopkins. “His intense commitment, intellectually and emotionally, to his patients, his students, and his research will go forward through the young physicians he has trained and those fortunate to have been touched by his life.”

Esteem for Dr. Montz extended beyond just that of his colleagues. Recalled one of his patients, “Whenever I had a test, he didn’t have someone else call with results, or even call me himself. He always walked over to talk to me personally and reassure me.”

Thanks to the ABC News documentary “Hopkins: 24/7,” millions of viewers got a glimpse of Dr. Montz as the pony-tailed, smiling champion of the patient. In tribute to his legacy, the network aired a half-hour special on the doctor during its “UpClose” program.

Said Terry Wrong, senior producer for the ABC series, “There was not a single one of us who sat in our lengthy interview with him who failed to understand what extraordinary gifts he had for life and for healing. I like to think that what we saw in that film, the compassion, the honesty, the laughter, and the tears, is his true legacy.”

Indeed, in an online chat with ABC News following the initial airing of the documentary, Dr. Montz noted the role of compassion and empathy in his work: “I think that the biggest challenge is not to be too detached. I think the natural defense mechanism that we as health-care professionals have is to pull away. You have to tell people that they have to be invested in individuals’ lives.”

“Dealing with people with terminal disease really isn’t a challenge,” he added. “The biggest challenge is my own limitations trying to keep a balance in my life. The terminal patients that I work with give me meaning in what I do.”

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