Sheldon Brotman


Dr. Sheldon Brotman, 69, died in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 18 after a short illness. He was the newly appointed Medical Director of Trauma Services at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan.

Born in Baltimore, Md., Dr. Brotman’s extensive experience in trauma and critical care took him to various facilities on the east coast and in Michigan. A lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Medical Corp, he served as the ship’s physician aboard the troop ship UPSHUR (Vietnam) and at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Newport, R.I.

Among his professional appointments were: staff surgeon at Waldo County Hospital in Maine, Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital in Michigan, and the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems in Maryland. Dr. Brotman was an associate in Trauma/Critical Care at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., for many years and later became Director of Trauma/Critical Care at the Atlantic City Medical Center in New Jersey. He was chief of the Trauma/Critical Care Center at the Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass., where he was honored with several awards, including Physician of the Year and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Western Massachusetts EMS and a Residents Teaching Award. The former Chief of Surgery at the Berkshire Medical Center, Parvis Sedighi, MD, said, “Dr. Brotman was the Trauma Center.”

As a resident of Oak Bluffs since 1997, he had once served on the visiting surgical staff of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. His love of Martha’s Vineyard and the waters of New England provided a magical and challenging setting for his beloved 49-foot racing sloop, Whisper, on which he spent most of his non-working hours. He was a passionate and experienced ocean sailor, winning awards including Best Performance by a New England Yacht and IRC in the Newport or Marion to Bermuda Yacht race, which he had participated in for 24 years. He was as devoted to sailing as he was to medicine.

He held academic appointments at the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Thomas Jefferson School of Medicine and the University of Massachusetts.

Dr. Brotman earned his medical degree at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and completed his internship at Kings County Hospital and residency at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Illinois. He completed a fellowship in trauma at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems.

He was a member of numerous professional medical societies, including the American Medical Association, American Trauma Society, Association for Academic Surgery and the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma and was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and American College of Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Brotman was a Diplomat of the American Board of Surgery.

Dr. Brotman had many awards to his credit. He wrote extensively about trauma and critical care and authored more than 70 publications and 100 abstracts and posters. He also served as the editor of the Journal of Trauma.

A 1984 Reader’s Digest article recalled one of Dr. Brotman’s surgical interventions that miraculously saved a badly injured fire fighter. In recognition of his medical treatment, Station 22 of the Prince George’s County Fire Department in Maryland awarded him a fire fighter’s helmet adorned with the station number.

Dr. Brotman was a speed reader and could finish multiple books in one week’s time. He was an ardent Boston Red Sox fan and enjoyed hearing the Boston Pops and Boston Symphony.

Besides his beloved wife, Marilyn, Dr. Brotman is survived by her daughters, Laura Rasche of Aztec, N.M.; and Lynne Alden of Wolfeboro, N.H.; his daughter, Jennifer Brotman of Northampton, Mass.; his sons, David Brotman and Alexander Brotman, both of Pennsylvania, and William Brotman of Denver, Colo.; and three grandchildren, Olivia and twins Ryan and Randal.

Dr. Brotman’s body was cremated. St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, Mich., held a memorial service on July 29. The family is planning a memorial service at 5 pm on August 19 at the Pittsfield Country Club in Pittsfield, Mass.

The Vineyard Haven Yacht Club has established a junior sailing scholarship fund in Dr. Brotman’s memory. Contributions may be mailed to Edgartown National Bank, P.O. Box 2380, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the fund.