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The Passing of Dr. Theodore Bayless

It is with sadness that we share with you the passing of esteemed colleague Dr. Ted Bayless due to cancer on February 10, 2019.

His many accomplishments include being the first to recognize and identify the role of genetics in Crohn's Disease. Additionally, he served as the first director of the Meyerhoff Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center. His distinguished research and renowned clinical care have brought accolades to the Johns Hopkins Medicine Division of Gastroenterology.

For those wishing to pay their respects, funeral services for Dr. Bayless will be held on Sunday, February 17 at 11 a.m. at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation:

7401 Park Heights Ave.
Pikesville MD 21208

"Theodore M. Bayless, M.D., an expert in the field of inflammatory bowel disease and a retired professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, died Sunday at the Gilchrist Center in Towson. He was 87.

Dr. Bayless spent more than 50 years at Johns Hopkins, first as a fellow, then as a faculty member in the school of medicine’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. A clinician, researcher and mentor, he had a vision for translational medicine. His colleague Francis M. Giardiello, M.D., called Dr. Bayless “a role model for the academic physician.”

Much of Dr. Bayless’ early research centered on the role of gluten in the diet of patients with celiac disease. After recognizing the association of low lactase levels in the mucosa of patients with milk intolerance, Dr. Bayless published and collaborated on numerous articles exploring clinical and physiologic studies of lactose intolerance. These studies and the subsequent development of commercially available lactase enzyme supplements helped millions of people tolerate dairy products.

Studies with Dr. Bayless’ mentor, the late Thomas R. Hendrix, M.D., led to the understanding of both absorption and secretion sites in the small bowel mucosa. These studies on cholera toxin helped lead to the development of oral hydrating solutions that would become important treatments for acute diarrheal diseases.

Much of Dr. Bayless’ work of the last 30 years has related to better understanding inflammatory bowel diseases. These include the findings that children with inflammatory bowel disease have suppressed growth several years before the disease is evident and that aggressive treatment can lead to resumption of normal growth.

Dr. Bayless was a co-author of the first paper showing the presence of susceptible gene mutations in the onset of Crohn’s disease.

Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Dr. Bayless graduated from Bucknell University, where he met Jaye Nides, his wife of more than 65 years.

Dr. Bayless graduated from Chicago Medical School in 1957. He completed his medical internship and residency in New York at the Cornell Division of Bellevue Hospital and Memorial Cancer Center.

Gastroenterology training followed at the Johns Hopkins Hospital under Dr. Hendrix’s direction. Dr. Bayless authored more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and has both written and edited numerous books in gastroenterology, internal medicine and inflammatory bowel disease. He edited sections of the

Journal of Gastroenterology and served as an associate editor and board member of many scholarly journals.

Dr. Bayless received the Franklin Institute Medal for work on lactose intolerance. He was honored by the American Gastroenterological Association with its first Distinguished Educator Award, as well as its Distinguished Clinician Award. He served as a leader with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and was honored by Johns Hopkins with the Department of Medicine’s David M. Levine Mentoring Award and the University Alumni Association award for excellence in teaching. He was a developer and director of the Meyerhoff Digestive Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Johns Hopkins.

“Ted really loved what he did and he loved his patients,” says his longtime colleague Marshall S. Bedine, M.D. “He was constantly attempting to correlate physiology with symptoms, seeking to avoid increasing potent anti-inflammatory medications.”

Mark Donowitz, M.D., another colleague of Dr. Bayless agrees. “Ted could translate scientific findings into clinical observations and treatments that improved his patients’ lives.”

Dr. Bedine also notes that Dr. Bayless and Jaye traveled frequently to New York to attend the Metropolitan Opera. “They belonged to numerous book clubs and attended theater in both Baltimore and New York.”

However, says, Dr. Bedine, Dr. Bayless’ most remarkable characteristic “was his immense kindness to all who he encountered. There was no one more dependable or supportive.”

Dr. Bayless and Jaye have three sons and four grandchildren. Dr. Bedine says, “Ted embodied that rare mixture of generous warmth and clear-headed observation. Those of us who were fortunate to be part of his life will truly miss him.”


Kelsey Bennett

2 thoughts on “The Passing of Dr. Theodore Bayless”

  1. From Bedside to Bench

    For Ted Bayless

    We celebrate an 87 year old man, a doctor
    who could say of himself, I made a difference.
    He was a geographer of the rich
    and sullied canal that runs through our core,
    an ethnographer of the matters
    of children’s taunts and adult euphemism.
    He collected all the dirty stories he could,
    decontaminating the shame of the tellers
    by his gentle and exploratory attention.
    He helped his patients before
    any prescription or treatment plan.
    His optimism threaded bright strands
    through every dull garment of illness.

    A maven of our most vital membrane,
    he had a bird-like alertness to the possibilities,
    in any clinical encounter, of cure or comfort,
    a cogged persistence in the pursuit
    of any scientific lead, some missing enzyme
    perhaps, some disruption of absorption,
    a dormant inflammatory volcano
    suddenly come to life creating abscess or fistula
    closure and diversion of ordinary nutritional transport,
    cumulus or spasmodic flow.

    His students watched and listened,
    digesting and absorbing Ted’s diet
    of care, wisdom, and curiosity,
    then circulated themselves
    through the international reticulum
    of medical institutions
    easing the suffering of so many.

    His collaborators speak gratefully
    of this man, fluent in the language
    of laboratory and clinic, of body
    and body of knowledge, able
    to lead and contribute.
    They had made discoveries together,
    discoveries that made all the difference
    to the long suffering and the newly sick.

    And they are here too, now grown,
    or grown old, thanking the doctor
    for saving their lives, for listening,
    for knowing what to do.

    Richard Kravitz, MD

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