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:

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