xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Baltimore mayors have a history of working themselves into the hospital

Running the city of Baltimore isn't for the faint of heart.

Like Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, many of the city's chief executives over the past 100 years have worked their way into the hospital.

Advertisement

Rawlings-Blake's health scare came during the Star-Spangled Spectacular concert at Fort McHenry on Sept. 13. She was taken to the hospital — her second brief stay during her time as mayor — for chest pains and shortness of breath.

She later said that in the excitement of the celebration, she hadn't slowed down to allow herself to recover from bronchitis and an upper respiratory infection. She was discharged after a night at University of Maryland Medical Center.

Advertisement
Advertisement

"I really ran myself ragged," she said after returning to City Hall. "I was like, 'OK, I'll take a little bit of Alka-Seltzer Cold. It'll get me through this event. I'll take a little bit of Mucinex. It'll get me through my next event.'"

Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. was ordered by his physician to take a "16-day Caribbean cruise" after he was admitted to Mercy Hospital in 1952 for grippe (the flu) and high blood pressure. His doctor told The Baltimore Sun that the illness "attacked him at the end of a long period of overwork."

In 1954, he spent four months at Bon Secours Hospital for a "check up and rest." The prolonged stay sparked concern about how long the city could go on with an ailing mayor, but the concern was quieted when D'Alesandro returned to City Hall reinvigorated, "bouncy" and "wise-cracking," according to newspaper accounts.

More recently, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke was hospitalized in July 1989 after suffering chest pains and shortness of breath. Tests ruled out a heart attack, and Schmoke, then 39, was diagnosed with an esophageal spasm.

Advertisement

Schmoke, who was recently named president of the University of Baltimore, told the newspaper back then that the scare was "just a good reminder that you can take care of a lot of things, but you also have to take care of yourself."

The disappearance of Mayor Howard W. Jackson in 1926 created such a stir that speculation about his whereabouts was "almost the sole topic of conversation at the City Hall." His wife ultimately revealed that he been admitted to Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, as the facility was known at the time. He returned home about 10 days later, saying, "My nerves again are all right."

The stress of the job might have had more grave consequences for one mayor.

Four months after the city's Great Fire of 1904, the coroner ruled that Mayor Robert M. McLane, 36, shot himself in the head with a .32-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver in his dressing room.

A doctor said at the time, "Only one explanation seems plausible — that he was overwrought at the great worry brought upon by the fire and the subsequent hard work and that the strain was too great."

Baltimore Sun research librarian Paul McCardell and reporter Luke Broadwater contributed to this article.

twitter.com/yvonnewenger

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement