Remembering John C. West (1949-2022)

John Clark West, 72 of Chattanooga, TN passed away on March 28, 2022. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to the late Clark West, MD, and the late Ruthann West. John was an attorney and author of children’s books Harriet and Daphne as well as other novels.

He was proceeded in death by a daughter, Molly West, and a sister Lucy Francis.

Survivors include his loving wife, Beverly West, his children, Amanda West, and Emily West. His stepchildren Benjamin C Gordon, Jennifer L Gordon, MD.

Four grandchildren, Clara Casper, Campbell Casper, Harriet Casper, William Minor

He loved to travel and had visited Europe, Katmandu, and a number of other destinations. He loved succulent plants and other unusual types of plants. He collected late 19th-century artwork and he was always looking for an empty piece of wall space to hang his latest find. His office was adorned with gargoyles peeking out around books and shelves. He had a great sense of humor and always had jokes to tell.

Professionally, John lectured extensively, taught, and wrote more than 106 Case Law Updates for the American Society for Health Care Risk Management (ASHRM) Journal of Health Care Risk Management and won the 2014 and 2021 Apex Awards in the category of regular department and columns. He edited and wrote many professional books and articles. His most recent books are ASHRM’s Legal and Regulatory Playbook, ASHRM’s Human Capital Playbook, ASHRM Risk Management Fundamentals, among others.

The ASHRM Advisory Board recognized his lifetime of contributions to the field of health care risk management with the ASHRM Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement in Health Care Risk Management, the Presidential Citation, and Journal Award for Writing Excellence. He also held the designation of Distinguished Fellow of the American Society for Health Care Risk Management.

John has dedicated his time and talent to ASHRM as a member, teacher, and keynote presenter. These contributions pale in comparison to the time he has spent mentoring members of the risk management profession.

Regarded as a mentor and a friend to many, he was known for his legendary knowledge, dry humor, quick wit, storytelling, and advancing the health care risk management profession. Many of his mentees would go on to become leaders for ASHRM and the profession.

ASHRM’s current Advisory Board Member, Chris Allman, who worked closely with John on the Case Law Update, and looked to John as a mentor stated “John was one of the first people to show me that there is a place in health care risk management for everyone, even an attorney like me who does not necessarily have a clinical background. John showed me, and all risk professionals, really, that knowing the law and how it applies to health care risk management is a big part of keeping our patients and organizations free from harm.”

On a non-professional note, John once shared when asked about his proudest achievement, “I am really proudest of my three daughters and two stepchildren. I have a professor, and attorney who is a health care ethicist, a mechanical engineer, and a Navy surgeon. One of my daughters died of cancer at the age of three, which left a hole in my soul from which I may never recover. Or at least I hope I don’t.”

When John was asked how he wanted to be remembered in a 2020 interview, he stated “In addition to my ASHRM work, I have published works of fiction and most recently children’s books. I would like to be remembered as a writer. That is why I am self-publishing. I consider myself a writer and an educator, and I want to contribute to the literature. I am a relatively ordinary guy who has been given an extraordinary opportunity and I am just happy to do it.”

I was very blessed to be able to call John my longtime friend, colleague, and mentor. There are those people you meet in this world that capture your heart – John was definitely one of those people. He was a titan in our field, a thought leader beyond compare, a treasured friend, and a blessing to all those who knew him. He will be greatly missed by all. – Fran Charney, Director of Risk Management, ASHRM