Dr. Lewis B. New­berg

His ‘Snore or Roar: I’ve Got the Cure’ com­bined prac­ti­cal ad­vice and hu­mor about sleep ap­nea and snor­ing

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS - By Fred­er­ick N. Ras­mussen

Dr. Lewis B. New­berg, a re­tired ear, nose and throat spe­cial­ist who turned his per­sonal bat­tle with sleep ap­nea and snor­ing into a book in which he com­bined hu­mor and prac­ti­cal med­i­cal ad­vice for those sim­i­larly af­flicted, died Oct. 22 of heart fail­ure at his Edge­wa­ter home. He was 72. The son of a busi­ness­man and a home­maker, Dr. New­berg was born in the Bronx, N.Y., and raised in Ja­maica, N.Y., where he was a grad­u­ate of pub­lic schools.

Af­ter earn­ing a bach­e­lor’s de­gree from Mcgill Univer­sity in Montreal, Canada, he earned his med­i­cal de­gree in 1964 from the Chicago Med­i­cal School.

Dr. New­berg com­pleted his in­tern­ship at Jack­son Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal in Mi­ami, and an ear, nose and throat res­i­dency in 1969 at the Med­i­cal Col­lege of Wis­con­sin.

From 1969 to 1971, he served as a naval sur­geon and was as­signed to the old Vet­er­ans Ad­min­is­tra­tion Hos­pi­tal on Loch Raven Boule­vard.

Af­ter leav­ing the Navy, he be­came a board-cer­ti­fied ear, nose and throat spe­cial­ist and es­tab­lished a pri­vate prac­tice in Bal­ti­more.

In ad­di­tion to his pri­vate prac­tice, Dr. New­berg, who was as­so­ci­ated with Har­bor Hos­pi­tal for 25 years, served as its med­i­cal di­rec­tor and headed the ear, nose and throat clinic.

At the South Bal­ti­more hos­pi­tal, he in­tro­duced many ear surg­eries, in­clud­ing cochlear im­plan­ta­tion, dur­ing which an elec­tronic de­vice of­ten called the “bionic ear” is im­planted in the in­ner ear.

At Har­bor Hos­pi­tal, he also per­formed au­di­ant bone con­duc­tor surgery, where im­plantable hear­ing aids are placed in the ear, and en­dolym­phatic duct si­nus surgery, which helps cor­rect ear pres­sure, tin­ni­tus and at­tacks of ver­tigo.

Af­ter clos­ing his Bal­ti­more prac­tice in 2003, Dr. New­berg moved to Chadds Ford, Pa., where he fo­cused his prac­tice on sleep ap­nea and snor­ing.

Also while liv­ing in Chadds Ford, he served as med­i­cal di­rec­tor at South Ch­ester Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Ch­ester, Pa., and at Phillips­burg Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in Phillips­burg, N.J.

“He’d give pa­tients free an­tibi­otics who couldn’t af­ford them. And for pa­tients who couldn’t af­ford to pay for ser­vices, he’d ac­cept food as pay­ment,” said his wife of 18 years, the former Lau­reen Collins, a reg­is­tered nurse who works at Har­bor Hos­pi­tal. “Lew loved to eat and loved good food.”

Dr. New­berg wrote in his 2008 book, “Snore or Roar: I’ve Got the Cure,” that his strug­gle with snor­ing — which he called “Sno­ra­su­rus” — and sleep ap­nea be­gan in­no­cently enough with a “long stand­ing stuffy nose.”

“Snor­ing is con­sid­ered a joke. Like physi­cians and the pub­lic, I didn’t take snor­ing se­ri­ously,” Dr. New­berg wrote.

He wrote that as a physi­cian, he knew that the cause of his snor­ing was caused by flabby tis­sue at the back of his throat, and that as the years passed and his snor­ing in­creased, his chil­dren called him “Jeremiah the Bull­frog.”

Dr. New­berg said in a vain at­tempt to sleep, his then-new wife, Lau­reen, would de­liver sharp jabs to his ribs, hop­ing that by wak­ing him up, she could get some sleep.

“She fi­nally threat­ened to sleep in an­other room. This sounded the alarm of an­other mar­riage down the drain — and additional al­imony pay­ments,” he wrote.

Fi­nally, Dr, New­berg, who nearly wrecked his Mercedes af­ter fall­ing asleep at the wheel, re­al­ized he had to do some­thing about be­ing chron­i­cally fa­tigued.

By 1995, three op­er­a­tions on his throat, two heart at­tacks and coro­nary-by­pass surgery forced Dr. New­berg to face re­al­ity.

“As I well knew, two easy, prac­ti­cal ways to con­trol snor­ing were to diet and to ex­er­cise,” he wrote. “Years of smok­ing, lazi­ness, and eat­ing over­stuffed corn beef sand­wiches had made my body look like the Pills­bury Dough­boy.”

Dr. New­berg’s de­vel­op­ment of a suc­cess­ful treat­ment for pa­tients who suf­fered sleep ap­nea was a “com­bi­na­tion of eth­moid surgery and laser treat­ment of the nose and throat for cure of snor­ing and sleep ap­nea dis­ease,” he wrote. “But thanks to my surgery, I am fi­nally cured of sleep ap­nea.”

Dr. New­berg, who re­tired in 2006, was the author of a sec­ond book, “The Last Sur­geon,” pub­lished in 2008.

He was an opera fan and en­joyed at­tend­ing per­for­mances of the Washington Opera Com­pany. He also was an avid fly fish­er­man.

“He also loved Lon­don and loved to go there and at­tend the the­ater,” his wife said.

A me­mo­rial ser­vice will be held at 2:30 p.m. Mon­day at the Mary­land Vet­er­ans Ceme­tery, 1122 Sun­rise Beach Road, in Crownsvill­e.

In ad­di­tion to his wife, he is sur­vived by two sons, Ian New­berg of Rockville and Ethan New­berg of West­min­ster; a daugh­ter, Dr. Bar­bara New­berg of Fred­er­ick­burg, Va.; two step­sons, Ni­cholas Collins of Bal­ti­more and Robert Bow­man of Lees­burg, Va.; a brother, Richard New­berg of Mi­ami; a sis­ter, Nancy Schwartz of Fort Laud­erdale, Fla.; and six grand­chil­dren.

Dr. Lewis New­berg was an ear, nose and throat spe­cial­ist.

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