Max Harry Weil, MD, PhD, the “father of critical care medicine,” died on July 29 at his home in Rancho Mirage, CA, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Weil, 84, was an acclaimed physician who received numerous accolades in the critical care field. He was the founding president of the Society of Critical Care Medicine; a master fellow of the College of Chest Physicians; a master of the American College of Physicians; and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He was the author or coauthor of more than 1,300 articles, chapters and books, and held more than two dozen patents. He personally trained more than 400 physician and bioengineering fellows from all over the world, and at the time of his death was still teaching CPR, designing research projects and supervising the education of research fellows in critical care and life support.
Born in Switzerland and raised in Germany, Weil came to New York as a child and ultimately earned his doctorate in medicine at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine and a PhD in physiology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He came to California in the 1950s and opened the state’s first heart catheterization facility at City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte.
Weil spent 23 years on faculty at USC and working at L.A.’s County Hospital and Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, opening one of the first intensive care units in the nation. He started the Institute of Critical Care Medicine in 1959. Later, he chaired the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School, and headed its cardiology and critical care divisions. In 2009, he was recognized by the World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine.
The Weil Institute of Critical Care in Rancho Mirage will host a public memorial on Oct. 29. For more: www.weiliccm.org.