By Joe Burris, The Baltimore Sun
11:24 PM EDT, October 16, 2011
Dr. Paul Chang, a Towson oncologist known for forging close bonds with his patients, died Wednesday at Good Samaritan Hospital of complications from cancer. He was 65.
With more than 30 years' experience treating cancer patients, Dr. Chang developed a reputation for showing compassion and concern, as well as kindnesses that extended well beyond hospital visits and treatments. Those who worked with him said he often knew his patients' immediate and extended families and sometimes attended their celebrations.
Dr. Chang served as an oncologist at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson and at Good Samaritan in Baltimore.
"He treated [patients] like family, which was just his way," said Jeannette Nimon, of Owings Mills, an oncology nurse at Good Samaritan who helped treat Dr. Chang. "And he was much more than their doctor. He was part of their family in the way he cared for them."
Continued Nimon: "When he took care of someone, he knew that patient inside and out. … He could still remember patients from years and years ago."
Dr. Chang was diagnosed with advanced thymic carcinoma in 2008. His wife, Vivia Louis Chang, said that as he underwent treatment alongside other patients, he often answered their questions and helped ease their fears.
Dr. Chang was born in 1946 in New York City to Chinese immigrants. His father, Dr. C. William Chang, was a radiologist. His mother, Marguerite Bau Chang, was a physical therapist. Dr. Chang graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, and then Harvard College and the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, from which he earned his medical degree at age 23.
He served as an oncologist for seven years at the National Cancer Institute in Baltimore and had a private oncology practice for 28 years.
"He was an outstanding man and physician," said Dr. Charles Padgett, a partner in Dr. Chang's former oncology practice at Good Samaritan. "I just recalled sometimes patients were very sick and I didn't see how they would possibly make it, and he pulled them through amazingly. It was great to work with him."
In addition to pastimes that included traveling abroad, hiking and fishing, Dr. Chang was an avid baseball fan.
"About three weeks ago, he went out to see an Orioles game," said Dr. Davis Hahn, a partner in Dr. Chang's former practice. "He handled his illness incredibly well, always being happy and not letting on to other people what was going on. He dealt very elegantly with a disease when he knew all too well … about what was going to happen."
A memorial service will be held Nov. 19 at Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, at a time to be determined.
Dr. Chang is survived by his wife; two sons, Bryan Chang of Orange, Conn., and Andrew Chang of Sebastopol, Calif.; his sister, Perry Hayden, of Lynnfield, Mass.; and two grandchildren.