Peter Angelos, the personal injury lawyer who owns the Baltimore Orioles, donated $2.5 million to MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center to establish a lung disease treatment center in his name, he and hospital officials announced Wednesday.
The gift, the largest single donation in the hospital's 115-year history, will more than pay for renovating a 3,000-square-foot space where doctors from various disciplines related to lung disease will collaborate and see patients. Those diseases include cancers like mesothelioma that are caused by asbestos exposure, the specialty of Angelos' Baltimore law firm. The firm has won more than $1 billion in asbestos settlements since 1992.
Angelos' donation is the latest in a string of philanthropic gifts this year that have spread his family's name on buildings around the region.
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"Peter, your gift is going to help generations of patients live longer and enjoy better quality of life," William R. Roberts, chairman of MedStar Health System's board of directors, told Angelos during a ceremony in the Rosedale hospital's lobby. "Because of your gift, we will be able to treat more patients, conduct more clinical trials and bring the latest treatments to patients sooner."
The Angelos Center for Lung Diseases is slated to open in mostly unused space next spring, offering screenings for early detection of lung cancer and other pulmonary diseases.
"I thank you for the opportunity to have made the contribution and hopefully it's just one of many to come in the future," Angelos told the gathering. He declined to speak with reporters.
Lung disease is highly prevalent around eastern Baltimore County because of the region's industrial past, plus tobacco use, said Dr. William Krimsky, director of interventional pulmonology at Franklin Square. In Maryland, lung cancer causes about 27 percent of cancer deaths, compared to 28 percent of cancer deaths nationwide, according to hospital officials.
Hospital officials expect the center will see between five and 15 patients each day. Gathering doctors who specialize in various types and aspects of lung disease will help speed treatment for patients, many of whom have difficulty getting around to multiple appointments with different doctors, Krimsky said.
The donation also will pay for new diagnostic technologies and treatments. The center will be home to a lung nodule clinic where hospital officials hope to achieve earlier detection of the tissue abnormalities that can be signs of cancer.
The center will provide treatment for diseases including lung cancer, mesothelioma, emphysema, bronchitis, asthma and tuberculosis.
Aaron Piccirilli, vice president of foundation at Franklin Square and responsible for hospital fundraising, said he pursued Angelos for two years to secure a donation dedicated to lung disease care, something hospital officials hoped he would be eager to support.
"He has a passion for helping people afflicted with it," Piccirilli said.
Angelos has focused his other donations this year on legal education and health care.
He donated $2.5 million to Saint Agnes Hospital this spring for a new medical building. He also gave $1 million to the University of Baltimore School of Law in June to support an academic partnership between the law school and historically black colleges and universities, renamed the Fannie Angelos Program for Academic Excellence for his sister.
Angelos previously donated $15 million for construction of the John and Frances Angelos Law Center at the University of Baltimore, named for his parents and opened in April.
The new lung disease center will be housed within a cancer center established by two other prominent local philanthropists, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Center at Franklin Square.