Dr. John M. Freeman, a longtime
His death was announced by Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Freeman's iconoclastic questioning of established medical practices revolutionized the treatment of pediatric epilepsy and became the hallmark of his work.
He became a forceful advocate of two long-abandoned therapies — one that required a strict, unconventional high-fat ketogenic diet known as KD, the other involving surgery to remove half of the brain of children who were tormented by unremitting epileptic seizures — which led to their revival and current acceptance as effective treatments.
"Few Hopkins physicians have had a more profound effect than John Freeman on how we treat young patients who suffer from epilepsy and congenital abnormalities — and how we address the often-difficult ethical issues surrounding these potentially heart-breaking cases," said Ronald R. Peterson, president of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Dr. Guy McKhann, founding head of Johns Hopkins' Department of Neurology, explained in a Hopkins announcement of Dr. Freeman's death that his "resurrection of KD," which completely eliminated the epileptic seizures of many patients, was accomplished "virtually all by himself, against great skepticism and opposition."
John Mark Freeman was born Jan. 11, 1933, in
From 1958 to 1961, he was an intern, assistant resident and senior resident in
In 1961, he began a three-year fellowship in neurology and child neurology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in
Dr. Freeman returned to Hopkins in 1969 and rose through the academic ranks, becoming a full professor in pediatrics and neurology. From 1969 to 1990, he was director of the Pediatric Neurology Service at Hopkins Hospital, and he was concurrently director of the
In 1991, he was named the Lederer professor of pediatric epilepsy, a position he retained until becoming an emeritus professor in 2007.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, the former Elaine Kaplan; three children, a brother, a stepsister and six grandchildren.
Rasmussen writes for the Baltimore Sun.