The first president of the American College of Emergency Physicians has died following an automobile accident in Florida.
John Wiegenstein, M.D., 74, and a passenger, his 6-year-old grandson, Parker Meyer, both of Naples, Fla., were killed in the two-vehicle accident that occurred around 5:25 p.m. Thursday on U.S. 41 in Lee County between Fort Myers and Naples, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Both were taken by air ambulance to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers where they died, police reported.
"Dr. Wiegenstein's name will be forever linked with the specialty of emergency medicine," said Robert Suter, D.O., president of the ACEP, in a news release, adding, "his leadership was instrumental in achieving recognition of the specialty just 25 years ago."
"Emergency physicians across the nation are shocked and grieved to hear about this tragedy," Suter said. "Many of us just saw him last week in San Francisco during our annual meeting"
Wiegenstein, a family physician, practiced in Lansing, Mich., in the 1960s and 1970s, and was one of eight physicians who founded the ACEP there in 1968. He became the fledgling organization's first president and later was emergency medicine's first delegate to the American Medical Association's House of Delegates. Emergency medicine was recognized as a new medical specialty in 1979.
He also served as president of the American Board of Emergency Medicine. In 2001, the AMA gave Wiegenstein its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.
A funeral mass will be held this Thursday at 10 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Naples. Memorials can be made to the Emergency Medicine Foundation, 1125 Executive Circle, Irving, Texas, 75038.