The New England aviation and medical communities are mourning the loss of Dr. Suzanne Wedel, MD, the former CEO and Medical Director of the non-profit critical care transport service, Boston MedFlight. Dr. Wedel died on March 30th following a three year battle with ovarian cancer.
Suzanne, as she preferred to be called, was a stalwart of support for safe helicopter operations across New England. Through her membership as a longstanding NEHC Board Member she ensured that local political and business leaders were constantly aware of helicopter community needs and contributions. Under her tutelage, Boston MedFlight received several national aviation safety awards including the 2013 Vision Zero Award and the 2016 HAI Salute to Excellence BLR Aerospace Safety Award.
Suzanne's enthusiasm for aviation safety emanated from her true passion: patient care. She clearly recognized that the best way to provide seamless attention to the critical care patient was to provide the safest, most efficient transportation possible.
Following medical school at her beloved Kansas University, Dr. Wedel began her medical career as a surgical intensivist at Maryland's Shock Trauma Hospital. In 1984 her husband, Dr. Alasdair Cohn was recruited to Boston to lead a start-up critical care air ambulance program that was being created by a consortium of six teaching hospitals. Five years later, Dr. Cohn moved to Mass General to become Head of the Emergency Department, and Dr. Wedel stepped in to become the interim CEO of Boston MedFlight; this 'interim' position lasted twenty-seven years!
Over the years, Suzanne grew Boston MedFlight from a single helicopter and twelve employees, to a nationally recognized industry-leader with four helicopters, fixed-wing and ground ambulances, and 130 staff transporting over 3,500 critically ill and injured patients across New England each year. Along the way she was instrumental in creating the North East Air Alliance (NEAA), a partnership of the seven air ambulance services in New England. This unique Alliance established mutual cooperation among these providers, as opposed to the competitive environment seen in most other areas.
In addition to her position on several accreditation and association Boards, nationally, she enjoyed her camaraderie with the NEHC Board. Suzanne was instrumental in establishing hospital helipads in Boston and continually fought to re-establish a downtown public heliport.
Suzanne leaves behind three loving children, a devoted husband and a world of patients, students, mentees, friends and associates whose lives have been touch by this amazing woman.
Arrangements: A memorial service will be held at the Old North Church, 35 Washington Street, Marblehead, MA on April 30th, 2016 at 11am. To reflect Suzanne's wish that the service be a celebration of her life, the family encourages attendees to wear spring colors to the event. In lieu of flowers, Suzanne requested that expressions of sympathy be made to the Suzanne Wedel XOXOut Ovarian Cancer Fund at Massachusetts General Hospital or to Boston MedFlight at BostonMedFlight.org.
Arrangements by Eustis and Cornell of Marblehead. Please visit the online guestbook for Dr. Wedel at www.eustisandcornellfuneralhome.com