Dr. Frank T. Barranco Sr., orthopedic surgeon

Dr. Frank Thomas Barranco Sr.
Dr. Frank Thomas Barranco Sr. (Baltimore Sun)

Dr. Frank T. Barranco Sr., an orthopedic surgeon who also had been active in the field of emergency medicine, died Saturday at Oak Crest Village of acute myeloid leukemia. He was 84.

"Dr. B was just a great individual," said Baltimore County Fire Department Division Chief Mike Robinson. "If you had a concern, he'd look at it and provide his expertise. He was everything to a whole lot of people."


The son of Dr. Salvatore Barranco, a physician, and Mabel Barranco, a homemaker, Frank Thomas Barranco Sr. was born in Baltimore. He was raised on Fort Avenue in Locust Point, and later in Original Northwood.

After graduating from McDonogh School in 1948, Dr. Barranco earned a bachelor's degree in 1952 from Duke University. He earned his medical degree in 1956 from the George Washington University School of Medicine.


From 1956 to 1959, he completed his internship and surgical residency at Union Memorial Hospital, and from 1959 to 1962, was an orthopedic resident and chief resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

After his board certification, Dr. Barranco entered private practice when he established an office at 600 W. Northern Parkway. He later added a satellite office in Essex.

He oversaw an orthopedic foot clinic at Hopkins Hospital and was an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery there.

"His patients recall his compassionate bedside manner, thoroughness and problem-solving abilities," said a son, Michael Barranco of Lutherville.

"He brought the human side to his medical practice," his son said. "It was commonplace for him to make house calls, and not unusual for patients to have their casts changed or surgical sutures removed in his family's Lutherville kitchen or in their kitchens."

In 1990, he closed his practice when he became the full-time chief physician for the Baltimore Police Department, after having been a part-time physician there for 20 years. He later took on additional medical responsibilities for the city Fire Department.

Dr. Barranco joined the Maryland Army National Guard in 1958 as a lieutenant in the Medical Corps and was assigned to the 110th Field Artillery Battalion in the 29th Division at Pikesville.

From 1973 to 1976, he commanded the 136th Combat Support Hospital in Parkville, attaining the rank of colonel.

At the time of his retirement in 1987, he was promoted to brigadier general and ended his military career in the State Area Command Headquarters as the state surgeon under the office of the adjutant general.

From 1993 to 1996, he served as commanding general of the State Defense Force of the Maryland State Guard.

In 1971, Dr. Barranco became an active member of the Lutherville Volunteer Fire Company after its members responded to a chimney fire at his home, his son said.

"He contributed so much," said Mike Huber, president of the Lutherville Volunteer Fire Company. "He did all the physicals for our firefighters, starting in 1971, and at no cost. He was a true gentleman who was always willing to help. We are not going to be able to fill those shoes."


Dr. Barranco became the fire surgeon for the Baltimore County Fire Department in 1972. He played a significant role in modernizing the county's Emergency Medical Services.

"A large part of the EMS structure is due to his vision," said Steve Adelsberger, an EMS captain. "He always did the right thing for the right reasons. He was a wonderful gentleman who always kept his focus."

Dr. Barranco provided education, instruction advice and support to emergency medical technicians, paramedics, the Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen's Association, the American Red Cross and the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

"He was known to respond directly to rescues and fires in his personal vehicle, known by fire dispatch as 'Car 602,' " his son said.

Dr. Barranco was credited with saving many lives in the field with CPR and other emergency medical treatments.

On Jan. 4, 1987, Dr. Barranco was a first responder after Amtrak's northbound Colonial, traveling at over 100 mph, collided with three stalled Conrail locomotives at Chase, just south of the Gunpowder River bridge. At the time, the wreck, which killed 14 passengers as well as the Colonial's engineer and lounge car attendant, was Amtrak's deadliest accident.

"Dr. B got there pretty quick and went to work right away. He did triage and evaluated the most critically injured patients and was available if he needed to do surgical procedures," said Chief Robinson. "It was phenomenal to have a guy like him on the scene. He remained cool and calm through all of this."

In recognition of his work at Chase, Dr. Barranco was presented the Baltimore County Silver Star Ribbon.

His hobbies included working with the Navy-Marine Military Auxiliary Radio System. Later in life, he earned his private pilot's license.

His wife of 50 years, the former Beverly Jean Dellinger, died in 2008.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday at the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Baltimore and Ware avenues, Towson.

In addition to his son, Dr. Barranco is survived by two other sons, Frank T. Barranco Jr. of Parkton and Thomas Barranco of Pasadena; three daughters, Deborah Kearney and Susan O'Haire, both of Perry Hall, and Mary Smythe of Cochranville, Pa.; a sister, Mary A. DelRosso of Plaistow, N.H.; 15 grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun