Nationally-Prominent Erlanger Physician Dies Suddenly

Friday, January 31, 2014
Dr. Francis Fesmire
Dr. Francis Fesmire

Dr. Francis Fesmire, a longtime member of Erlanger’s medical staff and physician leader in the Emergency Medicine Department and throughout the nation, died suddenly on Friday. 

A statement from Erlanger officials said, "We extend our condolences to Dr. Fesmire’s family, particularly his wife Connie and sons, Forrest and Hunter, and mourn the loss of this extremely gifted and respected emergency medicine physician."  

“Dr. Fesmire’s accomplishments in emergency medicine and cardiac care were far-reaching,” said Erlanger President and CEO, Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE.  “In addition to his many significant contributions to the world of research, emergency medicine and mentoring of our residents, he was also highly respected in the local community,” Mr. Spiegel said.  “His important work has touched the lives of thousands of people, locally and nationwide.”

A nationally-recognized expert in myocardial infarction, Dr. Fesmire authored numerous academic articles over the years and developed clinical guidelines on the standard of care in treating patients with suspected heart attacks.  

“His strategies to rule out myocardial infarction, often referred to as the ‘Erlanger Chest Pain Protocol’ are nationally known and have been adapted by many leading medical institutions, like Duke, Harvard and Stanford,” noted Dr. James Creel, Erlanger’s Chief Medical Officer.   Dr. Creel added, “Dr. Francis Fesmire had an enormous impact mentoring medical students, residents and faculty; most importantly, he created a major spark of research energy in many of our residents.”

Among his many key roles at Erlanger during his 23 years with Erlanger, Dr. Fesmire served as medical director of the Chest Pain Center, was a Core Faculty Member of Erlanger’s Emergency Medicine Residency Program, professor with the UT College of Medicine, director of Research with the Emergency Medicine Residency at Erlanger and member of Erlanger’s Cardiac Council.

On a national level, Dr. Fesmire served as chairman of the Clinical Policy Committee of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) from 2010 to the present.  In 2009 he was awarded the “Hero of Emergency Medicine” award by the American College of Emergency Physicians.  He was also awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2006.  

Dr. Fesmire was also highly accomplished academically.  He was high school Valedictorian at Baylor School in 1978.  He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1981 and received the “Outstanding Resident Award” after completing his residency in Emergency Medicine at University Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla.   In 1996, he was honored with the Young Investigator Award by the Emergency Medicine Foundation.

He has authored hundreds of articles in national journals and lectured throughout the world on emergency cardiac care and the Erlanger Chest Pain Protocol, including conferences in Stockholm, Sweden; Amsterdam, Holland and British Columbia, Canada

In his many research investigations with chest pain patients. Dr. Fesmire reported the usefulness of continuous 12-lead ECG monitoring, as well as two-hour delta cardiac marker testing, and nuclear cardiac stress testing in the Emergency Room.   The culmination of his studies, the Erlanger Chest Pain Protocol, was published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine in 2002.  Recent research involved the risk stratification of chest pain patients in the ED.

“Over the last few years, Dr. Fesmire focused his tremendous skills and energies on improving the evaluation and treatment of stroke patients in the emergency department,” noted Dr. Carol Gruver.  “He was a central figure within the Erlanger Stroke Program and was developing one of the largest databases in the world specifically to determine how to provide the best care to patients suffering from a stroke,” she said, on behalf of the Departments of Cardiology and Neurology.  “His enthusiasm for helping others was unmatched, and his energy for moving the field of medicine forward through research will serve as a great model for us.”

To read a 2011 profile on Dr. Fesmire and his hobby of writing, click here:



Fort Oglethorpe Arrest Report For Nov. 21-26

Here is the Fort Oglethorpe arrest report for Nov. 21-26: Christopher Sterling Holcombe, 38, of 1606 Bussell Place, Fort Oglethorpe was arrested November 20 on charges of possession of firearm at public gathering and possession of firearm by convicted felon.   Atlanta Shannice Dixon, 22, of 2113 Union Avenue, Fort Oglethorpe was arrested November 21 on charges of ... (click for more)

Crime Stoppers: Murder Of James Richard Harris

Crime Stoppers and the Walker County Sheriff’s Office are seeking information on the homicide of James Richard Harris.   On Dec. 22, 1994, at approximately 7:41 a.m., the Walker County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1610 Boss Road in Chickamauga for a body in the driveway. The body was identified as that of 54-year-old James Richard Harris who resided at that address and ... (click for more)

Lawlessness At Heritage Park

As a frequent visitor at Heritage Park in East Brainerd, I must say that the situation is becoming slightly out of control.  To start, parking is atrocious.  The unpaved lot contains nothing but loose gravel which has naturally given way to divots in the ground assuring you a few bumps.  Why isn't this area smoothed out?  It's not worth parking there anyways ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Am Thankful 2014

Over 40 years ago I was a young sports writer when I came up with the notion of setting daily things aside, just for one day, and writing about why “I Am Thankful.” Every Thanksgiving I come up with my list and it is as much about me as it is about my gratitude for all things great and small. I can’t imagine approaching this day in any other way. Here we go … I AM THANKFUL for ... (click for more)

Alcoa, A Prep Football Gold Standard, Up Next For Irish

Notre Dame almost had a crack at powerful Alcoa in the 2013 TSSAA football playoff semifinal round. But, in the quarterfinals, Alcoa beat Christian Academy of Knoxville, 42-14, but the Fighting Irish dropped a 19-10 decision to Upperman, which was crushed, 75-18, a week later by the Tornadoes. Alcoa clipped Christ Presbyterian Academy, 25-7, in the state championship game. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Women Shock No.4 Tennessee, 67-63

Before the season started some people across the country called Chattanooga women’s basketball coach Jim Foster crazy for scheduling three top 10 teams – Notre Dame (national runner-up) Stanford and Tennessee - before Christmas. After Wednesday night’s UTC shocking 67-63 home win against No.4 Tennessee before 4,160, those same folks might believe coach Foster is crazy like ... (click for more)