David A. Nagey, director of perinatal outreach for the School of Medicine and a consulting perinatologist for 10 Maryland hospitals, died suddenly on Sunday, April 21. He was 51.
Nagey was participating in a 5K fund-raising race for his son's school, Indian Creek School in Crownsville, Md., when he collapsed and could not be revived.
The Sherwood Forest, Md., obstetrician-gynecologist was a recognized authority in the management of high-risk pregnancies, treating patients with a variety of conditions including diabetes, hard-to-manage hypertension and thyroid disorders. Nagey believed that the most appropriate perinatal health care reached the most women when it was given by their usual health care providers at sites near their homes. His mission was to provide consultant care on a local level, via outreach.
Through grants from the state and Prince George's County health departments, as well as Johns Hopkins, Nagey traveled across the state seeing high-risk pregnancy patients regardless of their ability to pay for medical services. He often said that, regardless of available funding, he would continue his quest because he believed in the benefits it brought to the women of Maryland and because he found it personally satisfying. His range was so widespread that between patient visits and telephone consults, he was involved in roughly 1 percent of all deliveries in Maryland.
Colleagues said Nagey spent countless hours in pursuit of excellence in perinatal care, unselfishly serving as a consultant, educator and friend to primary care physicians, with unwavering personal commitment and tireless professionalism.
"He was the obstetrician's obstetrician, and looked forward every day to the challenges of outreach," said Harold E. Fox, professor and director of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Hopkins. "He was one of the most significant contributors to the care of mothers and children in the state. He was humble, compassionate and a true leader."
Nagey "provided a quiet and essential service for all mothers in Maryland," added Edward E. Lawson, chief of Neonatology at Hopkins. "He was always available to answer questions and suggest ways to manage problems in high-risk mothers. It did not matter whether the questions came from mothers, referring doctors, doctors in training or pediatricians--he answered them all with grace and pinpoint accuracy."
Nagey was born Oct. 15, 1950, in Cleveland. He received his bachelor's degree in engineering sciences, graduating with honors, from Purdue University in 1969, a doctorate from Duke University in 1974 and a medical degree from Duke in 1975. He completed his obstetrics and gynecology residency at Duke, becoming chief resident in 1978, and stayed on at Duke for a fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine from 1979 to 1981.
In 1981 Nagey became assistant director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he was on the faculty for 15 years. He was appointed director of the division in 1985 and served in that capacity until 1996, when he joined Johns Hopkins' Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and was appointed director of perinatal outreach and associate professor of gynecology and obstetrics, with a joint appointment in the Department of Population and Family Health Sciences in the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
In 2001, he was cited as the Perinatal Health Care Provider of the Year by the Maryland chapter of the March of Dimes. He also was given the "Above and Beyond" award from the medical staff of Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md., and a certificate of appreciation as the "Peripatetic Perinatologist" from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
A member of numerous engineering and obstetrical professional organizations, Nagey also was a reviewer for several academic journals and served on many maternal health committees for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the state of Maryland and the city of Baltimore. He was immediate past president of the F. Bayard Carter Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and chaired the perinatal advisory committee for the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services System.
Nagey authored more than 50 peer-reviewed research papers on topics such as obstetrics, pregnancy complications, prematurity, fetal evaluation and preterm labor.
In his free time, he enjoyed sailing, woodworking and bird-watching.
Nagey is survived by his wife, Elaine, and two sons, Stefan and Nicholas; a brother, Robert, of Ninole, Hawaii; and a sister, Barbara, of Chicago.
A memorial service was held on Saturday at Indian Creek School.
The family has requested that donations in Nagey's honor be sent to The David A. Nagey Memorial Fund for Perinatal Outreach, c/o Barbara Chase, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 600 N. Wolfe St., 254 Phipps, Baltimore, MD 21287. Checks should be made payable to The Johns Hopkins University.