Dennis Wesley Lennox, one of the region's pre-eminent joint replacement surgeons and inventors, died Feb. 13 at his Roland Park home of brain cancer. In July 2001, he was named chief of the Johns Hopkins Division of Arthritis Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital and first occupant of the David S. Hungerford Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery. He was 56.
Lennox, an associate professor in the School of Medicine, was a leader and active clinical expert in arthroplasty (hip and knee replacements) and was internationally known for his orthopedic inventions. He worked extensively in the development of an implant known as the Endurance Total Hip System. In addition, he published more than 50 scientific articles, was the assistant editor of the Journal of Arthroplasty and belonged to numerous medical societies.
"Dennis was a superb physician, educator and surgeon," said Frank Frassica, chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the School of Medicine. "One of his students and friends, [assistant professor] John Carbone, best describes Dennis' impact when he said, 'Dennis has always been the type of surgeon and friend that we all hoped to be.' His patients, students and friends will truly miss him."
Lennox was known as a gentle man whose sense of humor and communications skills earned him praise among patients and students. Early in his career, he received the Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching and guidance.
Born and raised in Frostburg, Md., Lennox graduated from Hopkins and received M.S. and M.D. degrees from the University of Maryland. Following an internship at Brown and an orthopedic residency at the University of Virginia, he spent a year as a fellow in arthritis surgery at Johns Hopkins with David Hungerford, his longtime mentor and friend. He was named assistant professor of orthopedic surgery in 1981.
"Dennis was the first American-trained fellow in the Division of Arthritis Surgery," said Hungerford, former chief of Orthopaedics at Good Samaritan Hospital. "He became my friend, esteemed colleague, partner and ultimately my successor. He will be sorely missed in all those roles."
Lennox served on the board of directors of the Christian Children's Fund in Roanoke, Va., traveling to Kenya to help with the nonprofit's efforts. In his spare time, he enjoyed sports cars, gardening and photography.
He is survived by his wife, Judith Nims Lennox, and his children, Matthew Lennox, of Baltimore; Noah Lennox, of New York; and Allison Lennox, a student at Marlboro College in Vermont.
A memorial service will be scheduled at Good Samaritan Hospital. The family requests that memorial contributions be sent to the Christian Children's Fund, 2821 Emerywood Parkway, Richmond, VA 23261-6484.