Erlanger physician, researcher Fesmire dies at 54

photo Dr. Francis "Frank" Fesmire

Dr. Francis "Frank" Fesmire, a longtime member of Erlanger Health System medical staff, a leader in the hospital's emergency department and an internationally known and respected researcher, died Friday morning, hospital officials said.

"Dr. Fesmire's accomplishments in emergency medicine and cardiac care were far-reaching," said Erlanger President and CEO Kevin M. Spiegel in a news release. "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. His important work has touched the lives of thousands of people, locally and nationwide."

Erlanger board member Russell King, a local attorney, said the Erlanger community is devastated by the death of Fesmire, who was 54.

"He was the most genuine human being I ever met," King said Friday. "He was a healer in the truest sense of the word, a kind and wonderful man."

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.

Among his many key roles during his 23 years at Erlanger, 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, the news release stated.

A nationally recognized expert in myocardial infarction, Fesmire wrote 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," said Dr. James Creel, Erlanger's chief medical officer.

On a national level, Fesmire served as chairman of the clinical policy committee of the American College of Emergency Physicians 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.

Survivors include his wife, Connie, and sons Forrest and Hunter.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete as of late Friday.