The medical community in Fort Worth today mourns a doctor considered a visionary in emergency medicine.
"It's with tremendous sadness that we share the news that Dr. John Geesbreght, medical director of emergency medicine for more than 40 years at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, suffered a massive stroke over the weekend and died Sunday morning," said Barclay Berdan, the CEO of Texas Health Resources, in a statement sent to NBC 5.
Geesbreght, 75, practiced more than 40 years at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital.
"He was a great man," said Lillie Biggins, the president of the hospital from 2012 to 2018. "I and others are heartbroken."
That sadness was echoed in the tribute Berdan posted on the Texas Health Resources website:
"Texas Health Fort Worth is a beacon of hope and healing because of people like Dr. Geesbreght. He will be missed but never forgotten. While we mourn his passing, we know that his family is deeply grieving and pray they find peace during this difficult time. We also hope that we all find comfort knowing he was a great man whose wisdom and thoughtful approach to complicated cases were legendary, as was the dignity in which he treated all those he worked with … and all those who came to us in need."
In an interview with the Fort Worth Business Press, Geesbreght explained how he chose medicine as his life's work. It was a decision that came after a childhood friend had a swimming pool accident. Geesbreght told the paper his friend Jerry got knocked off the platform as he tried to break up a fight on the high diving board. The fall left the friend a quadriplegic, and Geesbreght recalled his visit to the hospital to see him.
'He said to me, 'John, one of us has got to be a doctor and it isn't going to be me.' Ever since fourth grade, that's what I was going to be. That's how I got interested," Geesbreght told the paper.
From his childhood in Chicago, then college and medical training in Illinois, Geesbreght eventually found his way to Fort Worth.
The statement from Berdan at Texas Health praised a man who spent more than four decades committed to emergency medicine, those who practice it and those whose lives depend on it.
"Dr. Geesbreght was the consummate servant leader. He helped Texas Health Fort Worth’s ER and trauma program achieve regional and national recognition for quality care. Among many business accomplishments, he founded the first scribe company in the U.S. and formed the ER physician group that has provided emergency medicine services to Texas Health facilities throughout the region.
As a treating physician on the Texas Health Fort Worth medical staff, he cared for countless patients who came to the hospital in their greatest time of need. These were bankers and lawyers, teachers and firefighters, the homeless and the poor. And he cared for all of them in the same way -- with unquestioned medical expertise and unmatched compassion and grace.
But his impact goes well beyond those he directly treated. He trained thousands of young clinicians over the years, sharing his skills, knowledge and experience with future generations of caregivers.
Dr. Geesbreght gave back to the Tarrant County community in many other ways. He provided vital leadership to the Marion Emergency Center fundraising campaign at Texas Health Fort Worth. Today, the ER treats more than 130,000 patients a year, making it one of the busiest trauma centers in the state. The center’s state-of-the-art simulation training lab is named the John Geesbreght, M.D. Education Center in his honor. He and his wife, Priscilla, also made a generous donation to support the construction of the Justin Patient Surgical Tower at Texas Health Fort Worth, along with his serving on the Justin Tower Steering Committee. The tower will open in two years. When it does, it will be the place where Tarrant County residents receive lifesaving care in the region’s most modern facility. That will be a beautiful and fitting tribute to the giving spirit of Dr. Geesbreght and his family."
The Fort Worth Business Press reports a service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at Christ Chapel Bible Church, 3701 Birchman Avenue, Fort Worth.