Dr. Ernesto Molfino, a general surgeon, died of a heart attack Sunday while playing soccer with a recreation league team at Schooley Mill Park in Highland. The Ellicott City resident was 64.
Born in Lima, Peru, where he received his medical education, he moved to the United States and did his surgical residency in Detroit. He then moved to Baltimore and practiced at the old Lutheran Hospital in West Baltimore. He also did a shock trauma fellowship with Dr. R. Adams Cowley at University of Maryland Medical Center.
Dr. Molfino joined the staffs of Maryland General and Bon Secours hospitals.
"He took the patient and did what had to be done," said Dr. Harry Mills Harris, an internist and friend who lives in Phoenix in Baltimore County. "He never asked what kind of insurance the patient had. I never heard him raise his voice in anger."
Dr. Molfino gave his home telephone number to his patients and, if necessary, made house calls to check up on them.
"He was a superb surgeon," said Dr. Pelayo Correa, a surgeon who lives in Lutherville. "His patients loved him. He could draw well, and he always stayed by their bedsides and made a detailed picture of a surgical procedure. He would always give them and their families time."
Dr. Molfino retired from his surgery practice three years ago. At his death he was a physician with Maryland Physicians Associates and worked at its clinics on a part-time basis.
"He was a wonderful doctor, and because he spoke Spanish, he was much in demand," said Roman Balakirsky, a vice president of Physicians Associates. "He was very helpful for our patients who didn't speak English.
Dr. Molfino was the senior member of the Flyers, a Howard County Recreation league soccer team he belonged to for the past 25 years. He had been a soccer enthusiast throughout his life.
He also hunted, fished and went skin-diving off Peru.
A celebration of Dr. Molfino's life will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the Turf Valley Country Club, 2700 Turf Valley Road in Ellicott City.
Survivors include his wife of 30 years, the former Susan "Susie" Schaeffer; a son, Gino Molfino of Baltimore; a daughter, Mia Molfino of Ellicott City; his mother, Maria Magdalena Molfino; three brothers, Jose Molfino, Cheto Molfino and Gino Molfino; and a sister, Marian Molfino, all of Peru.