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Dr. Philip D. Zieve, former head of Bayview Medical Center, dies

Dr. Philip D. Zieve was the former chair of the department of medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
Dr. Philip D. Zieve was the former chair of the department of medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. (Walter M McCardell / Baltimore Sun)

Dr. Philip D. Zieve, the former chair of the department of medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, died Saturday of complications from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body disease, a form of dementia, at his Village of Cross Keys home. He was 84.

During his decades of service at Bayview, he worked to smooth its transition from a deficit-plagued institution owned by the city to a component of the Johns Hopkins Health System.

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"Phil was a larger-than-life figure. He was seen as brilliantly smart. He was the go-to physician regardless of your specialty when tough medical problems arose He had an encyclopedic knowledge of medicine," said Dr. Richard G. Bennett, Johns Hopkins Bayview president.

"Because of Phil, the faculty grew years ago despite being such a ramshackle hospital. He attracted trainees and faculty from all over the country. Phil was a major leader of the campus who helped lead that transformation."

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Born in Baltimore and raised in northwestern part of the city, he was the son of William Zieve, an insurance agent, and Rose Zieve.

A 1950 graduate of City College, he earned a bachelor's degree from Franklin & Marshall College and a medical degree from the University of Maryland.

He met his future wife, Elaine Wishnie, when she was a Goucher College freshman and he was a medical student.

He completed an internship and his residency at the old Baltimore City Hospitals and was a fellow in medicine at the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied hematology. In 1963, he became chief resident in medicine at Sinai Hospital. He held the post for a year.

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In a 2004 history of the hospital, Dr. Zieve said, "We, as medical students, delivered a lot of babies without much supervision, and the babies came at a terrific rate."

In 1964, he began his permanent affiliation with Baltimore City Hospitals in East Baltimore. The institution was a municipal hospital that traced its origins to an almshouse. It was hampered by a low occupancy rate and a lack of patient amenities, yet it had a good medical staff, with many members associated with Johns Hopkins.

In 1975, he was named a Johns Hopkins University professor of medicine. A 1977 Baltimore Sun article referred to his treatment of a Dundalk man who was at City Hospitals recuperating from the city's first confirmed case of Legionnaires' disease.

In a 2000 Hopkins publication, Dr. Zieve said: "You do fall in love with institutions the way you fall in love with a life's companion. It's hard to say what there was about this institution that appealed to me right from the beginning. It wasn't the appearance. Now the place looks like something you wouldn't be ashamed to be seen with in public."

Dr. Zieve was initially chief of the municipal hospital's hematology division. In 1973, he became the chair of its department of medicine and chief of its professional staff.

In the 1980s, he and a colleague, Dr. Chester W. Schmidt, led an effort outside the public view to work out an agreement to save Baltimore City Hospitals by linking it with Johns Hopkins. The old hospital had few modern capital improvements and its billing process was described by Baltimore a newspaper as "being in anarchy."

In 1982, Hopkins assumed management of the institution.

After the merger agreement took effect, Dr. Zieve remained as chief of medicine at Francis Scott Key Medical Center and later at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

"In his years as chief of medicine at Bayview, he built that institution. And for all his skill and accomplishment, he was a humble and unassuming person," said Baltimore attorney Arnold Weiner. "He was a dear friend and the smartest person I have ever known."

Dr. Zieve traveled extensively. He had also been a visiting professor at Pahlavi University in Iran and at the Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades in Lima, Peru.

He was the author of numerous scientific articles and was a co-author of "The Principles of Ambulatory Medicine."

The funeral is private.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, a Walters Art Museum docent; three daughters, Melissa Zieve of Baltimore, Karyn Zieve of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Allison Zieve of Washington; and nine grandchildren.

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