A Loving Tribute to
Gerald Nissenbaum, M.D.
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Memorial for Gerald Nissenbaum, M.D. and Presentation of Portrait
Jersey City Medical Center, June 20, 2003

Remarks by Sylvia Nissenbaum at the unveiling of her husband’s portrait at the Jersey City Medical Center

First of all, may I thank Dr. Metsch and the liberty administration for accepting this portrait of my late husband, Dr. Gerald Nissenbaum, and agreeing to have it hang in such a prominent place.

I very much appreciate the efforts of Dr. Jim Maguire and the Medical-Dental staff for funding this project and bringing it to fruition.

As the long-time Cecretary/Treasurer of the Medical-Dental staff,  Jerry put in many hours, not only fulfilling his elected responsibilities but also on the planning of the annual medical center picnic, each summer.

Another of his loves was the G.I. Department. The last half of his internal medicine residency preceded his G.I. fellowship, here at the center.

This was followed by private practice, at his Jersey City and Bayonne offices.  It was about half Internal Medicine and Half Gastroenterology.

Jerry tried to solve the problems that arose in G.I., from the points of view of the attendings, fellows, residents, nurses and administrators. He tried to be fair to all sides. I’m sure you felt the affection he held for all of you.

He worked at his private practice for most of the day and sometimes into the night. Jerry was available to his patients as well as their doctors and nurses, by phone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  When we were away on a rare vacation, not only did he leave a covering physician, but he instructed our answering service to give out his phone number to any patient who preferred to speak to him, personally.  He chose to be a doctor and enjoyed his calling immensely.

Another of his loves was the house staff. Each morning, for 38 years, he came to the medical center and made rounds on his assigned medical floor with his residents, students and nurses. The patients he saw, were not only his private, hospitalized patients, but also the service patients, admitted to his floor. He not only served as their attending physician but also used this opportunity to teach bedside medicine to his students.

He was a Clinical, Assistant Professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and was a voluntary teacher and attending physician.

My late husband was never paid, monetarily, for his years of service, but his payment came in many other intangible forms. Until his death, the phone frequently rang with calls from his students, who had gone on to fellowships, hospital appointments and private practices, all over the United States. They either wanted to let him know of their accomplishments or to ask his advice on career moves.

Now, they call to tell me their good news, believing that after 45 years of a close, loving marriage, I still have access to him; and I believe this is so.

Jerry made it a point to get along with everyone here. That is not to say, that he didn’t strongly voice his opinions when he felt the need to do so.  He told you directly, to your face, but never in a mean way, always as a friend.

He was a religious man, in the true sense of the work. Every morning, as he drove to the medical center, he prayed to Almighty G-D, for help and guidance. He took his responsibilities for patient care very seriously and knew that without divine help, he was only a doctor, not a physician.

I have chosen two of his many dear friends to speak to you today: Mrs. Jean Murry and Dr. Alan Greenberg.  I look forward to their comments on my dear husband’s life.


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