In Memory of David H. Baker, MD

September 30, 2019
Photo of Dr. David Baker in front of his painted portrait.

The Department of Radiology mourns the passing of Dr. David H. Baker, legendary pediatric radiologist and department chairman from 1982 to 1988. Dr. Baker will be remembered as a superb radiologist, calm presence, caring chairman, and wonderful man.

Dr. Baker was born in Concord, NH, and raised in Yonkers, NY, and Wellfleet, MA.  A World War II army veteran, he served in Patton's Third Army, 87th Infantry Division, and was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge. He subsequently attended Wesleyan University and graduated from the Boston University School of Medicine, where he was given the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1981.

After completing a pediatric residency at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, he completed a radiology residency at the same institution and continued as a member of the staff.  During his residency, he was able to spend time with Dr. John Caffey at Babies Hospital (now NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital) and Dr. Edward Newhauser at Children’s Hospital in Boston. His training with both “fathers” of pediatric radiology was unique and not shared by any other pediatric radiologist.

He came to Babies Hospital in 1959 as the Director of Pediatric Radiology and successor to Dr. Caffey. Dr. Baker achieved world renown as a pediatric radiologist, and, with Dr. Walter Berdon, edited many editions of Caffey’s Textbook of Pediatric Radiology.  He and Dr. Berdon published many early seminal articles on pediatric radiology and were responsible for describing the radiologic findings of both common and esoteric diseases of childhood. He served as president of the Society of Pediatric Radiology from 1968 to 1969 and of the New York Roentgen Society from 1969 to 1970.

In 1982 Dr. Baker became the James T. Picker Professor Emeritus of Radiology and the third chairman of the Department of Radiology until his retirement in 1988. In 2002, he won the gold medal of the Society of Pediatric Radiology.

Dr. Baker passed away on September 25, 2019.  He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Betsy; daughter, Laurie and her husband Bill Crosley; daughter, Susan Baker Leavitt; son, David and his wife Carol; and grandchildren Lizzie Leavitt, Gwynne Leavitt, Dr. David Baker, Jr., Katie Baker, and Jon Baker.  He loved spending time with his family and friends in Cape Cod, golfing, sailing, fishing, and undertaking home improvement projects.

In lieu of flowers, or if you would like to make a donation in Dr. Baker's memory, please send a contribution to Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation's Fontaine Medical Center or to Planned Parenthood.

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