It is with great personal sadness that I inform you of the untimely death of Dr. Duane Sewell.
Duane joined the UMGCC in 2007 when he was recruited from the University of Pennsylvania as Associate Professor in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology. He graduated in 1994 from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and trained in Otorhinolaryngology at Johns Hopkins. Duane was 44 and was diagnosed with advanced gastric cancer several months ago.
It was my great pleasure to work closely with Duane from the time of his arrival four years ago. Along with Dr. Mohan Suntha, Duane and I staffed the Head and Neck multidisciplinary clinic in the Stoler Pavilion. Over the time I worked with him in that venue and others, my admiration and respect for him were cemented.
I can think of no one who embodied the ideal of what it means to be a physician more than Duane Sewell. Nor can I think of any colleague I would rather care for me or a loved one in a time of illness. Duane was extraordinarily intelligent, thoughtful, insightful and technically excellent. His bedside manner was superb, completely natural and unaffected. His compassionate yet commanding demeanor instantly (and rightly) put all his patients at ease, be they an ambassador with all possible privilege or a homeless person clinging to any hope. Duane saw them as equals and provided them with the best care possible.
Duane was movie actor-handsome with the most mellifluous voice. After sometimes heated debates in multidisciplinary clinic, tumor board or elsewhere, he would absorb a point, pause and his face would then melt into a broad, closed-mouthed smile that signaled an agreement had been reached and the right path was clear.
Duane is survived by his wife, Catherine, a physician on the faculty at Johns Hopkins, and their twin sons, Joshua and Sean. A memorial service on campus is planned, and details will be announced when they are available.
Please join me in offering our condolences to all of Duane’s family. The family asks that memorial contributions in his name be sent to the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, 22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. These funds will support head and neck cancer research.
Kevin J. Cullen, M.D.
Director, University of Maryland
Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center
22 S. Greene Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Dr. Scott Strome gave a eulogy at the memorial service for Dr. Sewell that took place on Sunday, December 18, 2011 in Westminster Hall.