Dr. J. Richard Sosnowski spoke softly in a measured, thoughtful way. But his words, and his contributions to the local medical community, resonated far.
In addition to delivering thousands of babies, he influenced thousands of physicians as a professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, assistant dean of the College of Medicine and advocate for a movement called “The Meaning of Persons,” which stresses to physicians that they need to treat patients’ mind and spirit as well as their bodies. Dr. Sosnowski helped bring that message, the work of Swiss physician Paul Tournier, to the United States.
In his commitment to the well-being of patients, he argued before the General Assembly in 1970 to change the state’s law so that it would allow abortions in cases of rape and incest. He was successful.
He served as president of the S.C. Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, commissioner of Roper Hospital and medical education director of Roper and St. Francis Xavier hospitals.
A consummate gentleman, he demonstrated not just the value of scholarship and of dedication to a worthy career, but the value of a principled life and respect for others.
In the words of Dr. Layton McCurdy, retired dean of the College of Medicine:
“He was ... a marvelous teacher. He was a man that emanated kindness, and that kindness was extended to both students and especially patients.”
Dr. Sosnowski died at age 92 Thursday, leaving his community saddened but stronger because of his work.