- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Dr. Sheldon Goldberg used to tell his wife, Ramona, that the center for breast care at Calvert Memorial Hospital should be named “after someone really special.”
On Tuesday, the Sheldon E. Goldberg Center for Breast Care was dedicated to the late surgeon who died last July in a rafting accident in Montana.
Goldberg, who was 60 when he died, was the breast center’s medical director and one of the driving forces behind its opening in January 2010.
Tuesday afternoon’s speakers included CMH President and CEO James J. Xinis; Goldberg’s widow, Ramona Crowley-Goldberg; his former colleague and close friend, Dr. Mark Kushner; CMH Breast Care Center Administrator Kasia Sweeney; and Dr. Theodore Tsangaris, who temporarily replaced Goldberg after his death.
Xinis said his former colleague and friend, “Shelly,” was “looking down on me and telling me to keep my remarks short,” so he did just that but called Goldberg’s legacy “unmatched.”
Crowley-Goldberg said her husband’s dedication was both personal and professional, as he lost his first wife — and the mother of his children — Noel Murphy-Goldberg, to the disease in 1991.
Crowley-Goldberg explained that when Murphy-Goldberg was battling cancer, patients had to leave the county for treatment, which, thanks to her late husband, they now no longer need to do.
“How he did this is almost incomprehensible,” said Crowley-Goldberg, who said despite running on very little sleep, her late husband “was never cranky.”
Murphy-Goldberg’s memory now also has a permanent place in the breast care center, which now houses the Noel Murphy-Goldberg Breast Cancer Resource Center.
“Can you imagine Sheldon speechless? But he would be speechless,” Crowley-Goldberg said. “Words do not do justice for the amount of pride he would have felt for what so many people have done for him today.”
Kushner said following Goldberg’s death, CMH “had a monumental problem, and that was replacing Sheldon.”
Though Tsangaris stepped in as the breast care center’s interim director following Goldberg’s death, Dr. Steven Nagel now fills the position.
“Sheldon was just a joy to be around. ... It led to a fabulous bedside manner, [though] mostly it was his ability that set him a part,” Kushner said. “I, like many of you here, miss him and think of him frequently.”
Sweeney said while Goldberg “never missed an opportunity to recognize and thank his colleagues,” he was not looking for the same for himself.
She said in the spring before Goldberg’s death he learned that he was going to be honored at a hospital function and told Sweeney, “I want you to stop it immediately.”
Sweeney said Goldberg told her he felt like the work on the breast care center was far from complete and its succes depended on many others besides himself.
“Together, I think we can make a bigger impact than Sheldon could have ever imagined,” Sweeney said, continuing that this fall’s CMH Harvest Ball will help to fund new equipment for the center.
Tsangaris said while he and Goldberg have “been in the same room together maybe more than twice,” they got to know each other because Tsangaris’ father was one of Goldberg’s professors.
Tsangaris said since then, he and Goldberg spoke on the phone regularly about patient care and treatment.
“Probably the most I’ve learned about Dr. Goldberg was over the last eight months when I had the opportunity to work in his center, and it feels good to say ‘his center,’” Tsangaris said.
Following the presentation of a flag from Betsy Bossart from the office of U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) and a proclamation from CMH board of directors Chairwoman Sally Showalter and CMH Chief of Medical Staff Barbara Estes, an oil portrait of Goldberg by artist Elaine McQueeney was unveiled inside the center.
Goldberg’s family members, including his children, Olivia, Alexia, Adam, Michael and Rebecca, were the first to see the portrait.
Rebecca said her father was just as caring as a dad as he was as a doctor.
“He was so generous and always showering us with lots of love and, just like with his patients, he’d be there for us all the time. Call him at 1 a.m. and he’d answer,” Rebecca said.
She said the dedication to her late mom within the center also meant a lot to her, though she said Goldberg had initially been hesitant to publicize his own loss within the center.
“He didn’t want it to be about him; he wanted it to be about everyone else,” said Rebecca, who said she was 18 months old when her mom died.
She said many women whom her father treated reached out to her after his death.
“A lot of people I didn’t even know would contact me and tell me how he touched their lives,” she said.
Two-year breast cancer survivor Becky Darago of Huntingtown attended Tuesday’s dedication and said Goldberg operated on her in 2010.
“The good Lord and Dr. Goldberg got me through this,” Darago said of her battle with the disease. “He was a wonderful man. We were very upset when he was killed.”