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:



Former DHS Worker Accused Of Trading Sex For Food Assistance Funds

Special agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained indictments for a Nashville man accused of misusing his position as an Eligibility Counselor for the Department of Human Services. After receiving information from the Tennessee Department of Human Services, and at the request of DHS and the 20 th  District Attorney General Glenn Funk, TBI special agents ... (click for more)

Rep. Womick Stands Alongside Defiant Kentucky Court Clerk

Rep. Rick Womick said he stands along side Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis and Governor Mike Huckabee in asking the questions, "Under what law, federal or state, are our county clerks issuing homosexual couples marriage licenses?  What federal law would Tennessee county clerks be violating if they did not issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples?  Under ... (click for more)

Who's Responsible For East Ridge's Stadium? - And Response (2)

There just can be no excuse for East Ridge High School's stadium being in such dangerous condition that it has been condemned.   Where is responsible for this? I know there are a few other stadiums like this as well. And there is no excuse for this.  Building new and beautiful schools, state of the art technology. Top athletic facilities as well. Yet, East Ridge ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Five Straight Days Of Football

If I covered my first high school football game as a fledging sports when I was 16 years old, and I am now 66, I figure that’s darn near about a half-century of passes and punts. The mystifying part is that I still get as big of a kick hovering around the game as I did on my very first time so as we usher in the start of the college season with five straight days of games, here ... (click for more)

East Ridge Football: Home Side Stands Are Closed ... Four Home Games Will Be Played on Campus

The home side football stands and press box at East Ridge High School are closed permanently due to safety issues, but for the 66 teenagers who wear the orange, white and gray for the Pioneers on Friday nights it’s a small distraction and the season continues. “Playing this Friday’s game against Signal Mountain at Baylor (7:30 p.m.) is a small distraction for us, but we know ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Football Opener: UTC vs. Jax State – Saturday at Finley Stadium; 6 p.m.

Saturday at Finley Stadium at 6 p.m.  it’s No.8 Chattanooga vs. No.7 Jacksonville (Ala.) State in arguably the most anticipated and talked about game in Chattanooga football history. An important region rivalry as a pair of top 10 FCS schools meet for the 39th time in the season opener for both schools. “This should be a great game between two of the best teams in ... (click for more)