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Dr. Theodore A. Baramki, specialist in women's reproductive health, dies

Dr. Theodore A. Baramki, was head of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center's Division of Reproductive Endocrinology.
Dr. Theodore A. Baramki, was head of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center's Division of Reproductive Endocrinology. (Baltimore Sun)

Dr. Theodore A. Baramki, a retired reproductive endocrinologist who was a specialist in women's reproductive health and had been head of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center's Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, died Aug. 28 of respiratory failure at his Cockeysville home. He was 84.

"Ted was a perfect gentleman, an outstanding physician and an accomplished surgeon," said Dr. Edward E. Wallach, a retired Baltimore obstetrician and gynecologist and professor emeritus at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "He was a very warm and compassionate person."

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The son of Attalah Baramki, an accountant who worked for the British government, and Cecelia Baramki, Theodore Attallah Baramki was born and raised in Jerusalem, which was then part of Palestine.

He was a 1948 graduate of St. George's Anglican High School in Jerusalem, and because of the political situation there, he moved with his family to Cairo, where he earned his medical degree in 1957 from Cairo University School of Medicine.

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Dr. Baramki was working at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem in 1958 when he met Dr. Richard W. TeLinde, who had established a subsection of reproductive endocrinology within the department of gynecology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and was doing volunteer medical missionary work in the Middle East.

Dr. TeLinde offered Dr. Baramki a residency in the OB/GYN department at Hopkins Hospital, which he accepted in 1960.

"He was very impressed with Ted's abilities and offered him a residency at Hopkins. [Dr. Baramki] was going to go to England for additional training but changed his route and came to Baltimore instead," said Dr. Wallach.

After completing his residency in gynecology and obstetrics in 1964, Dr. Baramki accepted a position as a fellow in reproductive endocrinology at the Hopkins School of Medicine, where he studied under Dr. Howard W. Jones Jr. — who with his wife, Dr. Georgeanna Seeger Jones, became internationally known pioneers in the field of in vitro fertilization.

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Dr. Baramki worked with Dr. Jones on in vitro fertilization cases in the early 1960s. Dr. Wallach said the men "had a close friendship."

"We became confidants and had offices next door to one another, and when I was chainman of the department, he was always very supportive," he said of Dr. Baramki. "He was also very faithful to Howard Jones."

Dr. Wallach said Dr. Baramki was a pioneer in the field of amniocentesis — a procedure used to diagnose chromosomal issues and infections — and was interested in genetics and genetic studies.

Dr. Baramki told The Baltimore Sun in a 1970 article that during amniocentesis, the risk to "the child is minimal, less than 1 percent. ... As the years go by, we will be able to detect more diseases."

In 1969, he was named co-director of Johns Hopkins Hospital's Prenatal Diagnostic Center, which was the first in Maryland, serving there for a decade.

He also accepted a full-time teaching appointment at Hopkins, where he remained on the faculty until this year.

Dr. Baramki was appointed head of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center's Division of Reproductive Endocrinology in 1978, a position he held until 2001. He was also a gynecologist and obstetrician at GBMC from 1968 to 2015 and was director of the hospital's Prenatal Diagnostic Center from 1981 to 2000.

"He was very well respected at GBMC," said Dr. Wallach.

Dr. Baramki joined a private gynecology and obstetrics practice with Drs. Houston S. Everett, J. Herman Long and Conrad G. Julian across Broadway from Hopkins Hospital.

He also wrote widely in his field and was co-author with Dr. Mihaly Bartalos of "Medical Cytogenetics," published in 1974.

He was a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, Society of Reproductive Endocrinologists, Society of Reproductive Surgeons, and the Medical and Chirurgical Society of Maryland.

Dr. Baramki served as president of the Maryland Obstetrical and Gynecological Society in 1976 and 1977.

He was an honorary member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Costa Rica, the Jordanian Society for Obstetrics and Gynecologists and the Middle East Fertility Society.

Dr. Baramki met his future wife, the former Ingrid Ringe, at Johns Hopkins. She was a pharmacist serving a residency in the hospital pharmacy.

"We literally met in the halls of Hopkins," said Mrs. Baramki, who married her husband in 1969.

In 1995, the couple committed $1.5 million to the Hopkins School of Medicine to endow the Theodore and Ingrid Baramki Professorship in the department of gynecology and obstetrics.

Dr. Baramki was appointed in 1973 to the U.S. board of directors of the Bethlehem Foundation, whose aim was to restore the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on the site where tradition has it that Jesus Christ was born.

"He loved travel and photography, but his work was his real hobby," said Mrs. Baramki who retired in 2002 from Sheppard Pratt Hospital, where she had been director of pharmacy.

"Ted had a great affection and loyalty to Hopkins, and he was eternally grateful to Dr. TeLinde for bringing him here," said Dr. Wallach. "He told me that coming to Baltimore changed his life forever."

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

In addition to his wife, Dr. Baramki is survived by a brother, Victor Baramki of Wiltondale; three sisters, Grace Baramki, Eva Baramki and Lily Baramki, all of Cairo; and numerous nieces and nephews.

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