Rapid Autopsy


In Memoriam...


Dave Foster
Barry Johnson, a long time Maryland resident, was diagnosed with a pancreatic cancer in November of 2014 - stage 2B. One evening, he had severe abdominal pain and itching - so severe that as an EMT he asked to be taken to the emergency room. A tumor was found on CT. He and his family immediately came to The Johns Hopkins Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center to receive evidence based care from the multidisciplinary care team. Barry started a three to four phase treatment plan of chemotherapy (5FU), stereotactic radiation, traditional Whipple and then 3 more months of chemotherapy. During this time he continued to work full time as an accessibility web programmer/ analyst. By working remotely and through webcasts, Barry was able to continue to help bridge technology capabilities for everyone with different abilities. Barry also continued to volunteer as an EMT / Firefighter in Prince George's County and provide technical expertise to the Maryland State Firemen's Association web and Facebook presence.

While there are many possible contributing factors to Barry's Pancreatic Cancer, he believed that the fire training he participated in during 1980's and the practices of not washing gear and not keeping self-contained breathing apparatus on after flames were out was a significant cause of his "fire fighter cancer". Barry is the third firefighter from Baltimore County Providence VFD to be diagnosed with this aggressive disease. He worked closely with the Maryland Firefighter Cancer Support Network to educate the current generation of providers about the risks of cancer and the important steps to take to decrease risks for many types of cancer.

Barry was in remission for only three months, PC came back in both his liver and lungs - stage 4. The team at the Johns Hopkins started a new chemotherapy regime and in August suggested an immune therapy trial at NIH. Barry tried two more types of chemotherapy while battling the side effects of treatment and complications from surgery. In April of 2017, 30 months after diagnosis Barry died in hospice care surrounded by family. He had three final wishes: 1) to donate his tumors to Hopkins research through the Legacy Rapid Autopsy Program to continue the fight to Wage Hope against Pancreatic Cancer; 2) to have a fire department memorial service (and friends from across the state came in the "sea of blue"); and 3) bagpipes. We will carry on his desire to Wage Hope with both Baltimore PanCan Network and Firefighter Cancer Support networks.

Rest easy Barry, we have it from here and will continue to answer the calls.