Michael Daniel Sulkin M.D., Distinguished Vascular Surgeon
Dr. Michael Daniel Sulkin, 79, of Silver Spring, Maryland, died peacefully on December 20, 2018. He was the son of the late George R. Sulkin and June Toy Sulkin of Newton, Massachusetts, and brother of the late Barbara Lourie of Natick, Massachusetts. He married Linda Everly Sulkin in Richmond, Virginia in 1971.
From the age of ten, Michael knew he wanted to be a surgeon and he set up a life course to achieve that goal. After graduating from Newton High School in 1957 he went to the University of Pennsylvania where he majored in chemistry in preparation for medical school. While there he joined the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and was also the managing editor of the yearbook, before graduating in 1961. He then attended Boston University School of Medicine and in 1966 he began his surgical residency at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia. Michael trained under Dr. David Hume, a pioneer in organ transplantation, which was a radically new and exciting frontier in the field of medicine. Because of the potential patient benefit of transplantation, Michael took an extra year to complete a fellowship under Dr. Hume and Dr. H. M. Lee. This was the impetus for his long and distinguished career in vascular surgery.
After completing his residency in 1972, Michael began his military service. He served at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on the Organ Transplant Service as well as an investigator for the Department of Surgery at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He achieved the rank of Major and received the Army Commendation Medal before leaving in 1974 to start a private practice in Montgomery County, Maryland in which he worked for more than 40 years.
Beginning with his early work in kidney transplantation and continuing until the end of his career, Dr. Sulkin advocated and insisted on the use of innovative procedures and techniques to improve patient care. He encouraged the early use of surgical lasers and introduced both radiofrequency ablation and laparoscopic surgery in the community. Most significantly, he performed the first endovascular procedure in the area for the treatment of severe vascular disease. All of these procedures are now the Standard of Care, but at the time they were revolutionary. He was supportive of the many hospitals where he practiced, serving on numerous committees and chairing many departments. Throughout his career he was a constant teacher and mentor, becoming a favored clinical instructor for physicians, nurses, and others, often using humor to enhance his presentations.
Michael never lost his love for Massachusetts. The Boston Red Sox, clam “chow-dah” and Boston Chinese food remained near and dear to his heart. However, it was his love for Cape Cod that prompted him to build a vacation home there. He wanted his children to be able to spend time with their grandparents, cousins and other relatives from the Boston area, as well as his friends from home. He became a boat owner and took great joy in piloting his boat across the water with “whoever would go with him!” Michael was perceptive, adventurous, supportive, innovative, humorous, and loving, all rolled into one big personality! His love of family and a keen sense of humor were always evident, taking great pleasure in laughter and good times. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and the medical community.
Dr. Sulkin is survived by his wife of 47 years, Linda, his children Julie Sulkin, Scott Sulkin, and wife Jennifer Sulkin, and Jason Sulkin, as well as his granddaughter Hannah Sulkin.