Vice President of Medical Affairs Remembered
Friday, April 03, 2009
Donn A. Wolfson, MD, Parma Hospital’s revered Vice President of Medical Affairs and a former President of the Hospital’s Medical Staff, passed away suddenly on March 9. Dr. Wolfson made an indelible mark on the Medical Staff during more than 25 years at Parma Hospital. He was the first and only Medical Director of ICU Services over more than two decades while maintaining a busy practice as a pulmonologist and partner in Ohio Chest Physicians. Parma Hospital’s ICU was honored among the 100 Top ICUs in the nation during his tenure, and the staff became an extended family for him.
In 2003, Dr. Wolfson was appointed Vice President of Medical Affairs, a position to which he devoted a great deal of time and attention. He was an active member of the administrative team, a champion of “doing the right thing” who intervened in ethics matters and even gave presentations for his church on end-of-life issues. He was dedicated to helping Parma Hospital and the Medical Staff achieve their goals and was genuinely committed to getting medicine to a better place.
While fully dedicated to all of his leadership roles, Dr. Wolfson was never too busy to listen, to teach, to help or to care. If a patient’s condition changed, he responded quickly. When staff members lost a loved one, Dr. Wolfson helped craft a memorable service to honor them. He had a soft-spoken personality, a sharp intellect and a witty sense of humor. Residents at St. Vincent Charity Hospital, where he also practiced, called him “the genius.”
As Parma Hospital’s Medical Staff President in 2001 and 2002, he was conscientious and thoughtful, writing columns for the Medical Staff Newsletter that allowed him to “wax philosophical” and explore topics from the undervalued “soft” skills of medicine to the importance of treating nurses with respect. He quoted Mick Jagger in his first column and Mel Blanc in his last.
A 1976 graduate of the Brown University School of Medicine, Dr. Wolfson did his internship at the University of Illinois Hospital at Chicago and his residency and fellowship at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital, now MetroHealth Medical Center. Board-certified in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine and critical care medicine, he had medical staff privileges at Marymount Hospital and Regency Hospital in addition to Parma Hospital and St. Vincent’s. He lived in Bainbridge Township and was devoted to his wife, Beth, and their three grown children, Stephen, Kathryn and Andrew.
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