Janice Popick Rosenzweig, an attorney who specialized in health law, died Monday at Greater Baltimore Medical Center of an infection stemming from treatment of primary pulmonary hypertension. She was 49 and lived in Brooklandville.
Born in Baltimore, Mrs. Rosenzweig graduated in 1968 from Woodlawn High School. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology in 1972 from Brandeis University. She planned to attend medical school but married Richard Pearlstein. The couple had a daughter, Rachel Pearlstein, before divorcing.
"That's what women did at the time," Ms. Pearlstein, of Baltimore, said of her mother's choice. "But she always wanted to finish her education."
In 1992, Mrs. Rosenzweig graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law.
She put in many hours of pro bono work, helping the elderly and others, said her husband of 16 years, Norman Rosenzweig.
"She really loved righteousness and justice, and she loved helping the underdog," he said. "I think one of the reasons that she went to law school was not to make money as an attorney but really to help people. She helped so many older people who had trouble with everything from wills to Social Security to health care. She'd go to bat for people."
While attending Maryland's law school, Mrs. Rosenzweig successfully petitioned the City Council to have parking spaces for the disabled added at the school, her husband said.
In 1990, she donated $10,000 of an inheritance from her mother's estate to the Black Law Students Association. "As far as I know, the principal remains, but they use the interest to assist students with tuition and other needs," he said.
Mr. Rosenzweig said his wife was fulfilled when she helped others.
"It brought joy into the lives of the people who needed the help the most, and it gave my wife joy," he said. "And that's something that money couldn't buy."
Despite being sick for some time, Mrs. Rosenzweig didn't let her illness daunt her, relatives said. Primary pulmonary hypertension is extremely rare, afflicting about 1,500 people in the United States. About 5,000 cases a year are diagnosed in the United States and Europe.
In those with the condition, the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery connecting the heart to the lungs becomes abnormally high, leading to shortness of breath, fatigue and fainting spells.
Drug therapies exist, but if they fail, patients must seek a heart-lung transplant. In 1996, Mrs. Rosenzweig participated in a study on the effectiveness of Prostacyclin, then a new drug used to treat the illness.
"Once in a while, she would cry and go on," Mr. Rosenzweig said. "She wasn't crying because she was in pain. She cried because she felt so bad that her illness prevented her from doing more. It limited her."
Services are private.
In addition to her husband and daughter, Mrs. Rosenzweig is survived by her father, Bernard Popick of Baltimore; and a brother, Jeffrey Popick of St. Helena, Calif.
Pub Date: 11/22/99