John E. Savage, M.D.

John E. Savage


John Edward Savage was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 11, 1907 and was raised in Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 1928 and received his medical degree from that University in 1932. From 1932-1937 he completed his residency and a two-year Hitchcock Fellowship in Obstetrics at the University of Maryland under Dr. Louis Douglas, Chairman. He opened a private practice in Baltimore. At this time contraception, sterilization and elective termination were illegal. The on-call system often required physicians to deliver babies in inner-city homes. These deliveries provided unique challenges and often required great ingenuity. Dr. Savage related an incident in which he was delivering a patient at home and found himself being supervised by a cow with her head peering through an open window. These experiences were to have a lasting impact on his career.

During World War II, John Savage served stateside in the U.S. Army attaining the rank of Major. Following the War, he re-established practice in downtown Baltimore and served as Director of University of Maryland Hospital. At this time, annual malpractice premiums were one hundred dollars! Outstanding administrative skills and clinical expertise resulted in his selection as Chairman of Obstetrics at the Hospital for the Women of Maryland in 1949. In this capacity, John Savage published extensively and became nationally recognized for his management of deliveries using forceps with saddle block anesthesia. He attracted many physicians to the Women's Hospital Residency Program.

In 1965 Dr. Savage was instrumental in establishing the Greater Baltimore Medical Center in Towson, Maryland. He served as Chairman of Obstetrics until his retirement in 1972. He also served as Chief of Staff of the hospital from 1965-1968.

Dr. Savage was an Assistant Clinical Professor and Lecturer at the University of Maryland and Lecturer at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School. He was a Diplomat and Associate Examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology; a Founding Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and a member of the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society; and in 1967, President of the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He served as an Elder for many years at the Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church of Baltimore.

Throughout his career, John Savage's practice of medicine led to his identification as a "physician's physician". He was an inspiring teacher, a master clinician, and possessed unique skills in resolving contentious issues among hospital administrators, boards, and the medical community. His proactive stance on issues related to women's health led to liberalization of state and hospital regulations related to contraception, sterilization and termination of pregnancy.

Louise Savage, his wife of 57 years, died in 1990; his son, John E., "Ted" Savage, Jr. in 1992. His daughter, Caroline S. Wanstall, of Edina, Minnesota, four grandchildren and eight great-grand children survive him.

Submitted by Edward Wallach, M.D.

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