Carol Rivers, MD

Carol Rivers, MD

To those of you who haven’t heard, an icon of emergency medicine has passed away.  Carol Rivers, MD, died last week following a cardiac procedure.  Carol was an outstanding clinician and educator, and one of the founders of modern emergency medicine as we today are fortunate to know it.  Carol was perhaps best known for her board-preparation guides, which helped many a terrified physician to navigate her or his emergency medicine board exams.  I know her expertise helped me when I took my first ABEM exam.

A few years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to work with Carol on an audio CD called ‘Let’s Talk Turkey,’ in which she and I sat down and recorded two CD’s of discussion about the state of the specialty.  It was a fantastic experience, one that I will always cherish.

Below is another notification by Dr. Pam Bensen, a close associate and friend of Carol’s.  Hopefully, we can all get together at this year’s ACEP Scientific Assembly to honor her memory.

So here’s to you Carol.  We’ll keep pressing on, thanks to the inspiration you gave us in your life and work.


It is with great sadness that I share with you the death of my dear friend Carol Rivers, MD.
Carol died tonight much as she lived, teaching till the very end.
Carol had a ventral septal myomectomy on May 6th. From the first things got complicated. After 13 days in the ICU with every system failing for a day or two, we finally thought she would make it, all organs and limbs intact.
Sadly to say, at 2300 on May 18, 2010 the single person most responsible for thousands of boarded emergency physicians, who while studying for the boards learned better medical skills, died a sudden death, making her own diagnosis at the end.
She had every complication the residents could learn from, and then some, teaching us all how to be better physicians even while fighting for her life.
Please notify your membership that Carol has died. Still a leader, she is the first icon of the second generation, the trained in EM generation, to lead to the next life. A leader in this world, she has now set off on a journey we all will follow in time.
I have asked ACEP to reserve a room and time during the SA for Maine, Michigan, and Ohio to hold a memorial service in her honor, so all emergency physicians, who held her dear, may mourn and celebrate her life with each other.
While the world has lost Dr. Carol Rivers, many of us have lost Carol Rivers, dear friend and mentor.

Thank you for helping me through this great loss.
Pam Bensen

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