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Rest in Peace, Dr. Weil. You done well

Editor's note: Dr. Max Harry Weil, recognized the world over as the father of the critical care movement, died last Friday at age 84.

The growth of a healthcare profession happens because of the countless contributions of its professionals. The vast majority of these are small, everyday events — a new scientific discovery here, a better mousetrap there. We hardly even notice these changes as we perform our jobs daily, not recognizing that something we do was, at one point, not ever done.

At the same time, there are giants in the profession that causes dramatic changes in the way we think and practice our craft. Some are especially famous, and rightly so. Then there are folks who affect our profession without initially realizing it. And we would never really who they were, except for a small mention buried in a newspaper.

Today, though, I want to make sure you knew about Dr. Max Harry Weil. Dr. Weil made huge contributions to critical care medicine, long before there was a concept of critical care medicine. In his drive to optimize the care of sick patients, he helped to develop ideas that transferred to the world of emergency medicine and prehospital care.

But that's not why I wanted to talk about Max today. I met him a few times over the past few years; we were fortunate to have him as a keynote speaker at a prehospital and emergency care conference we held not too long ago. Over a few dinners, I got the opportunity to learn about a fascinating man, small in stature and humble as pie, but a vision as big as the sky about cutting edge critical care. I listened to him as we spoke about the past and future, and I kept forgetting that Max was already 80!

His wife was at the conference as well, and it was clear how much he loved her and doted over her. It was the cutest scene to see these elderly couple being courted and respected by other professionals throughout the conference.

I'm saddened by the news, but happy that Dr. Weil can finally rest. His contributions will live on in the practice of emergency and critical care. I am honored to have known him.

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