GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Top Stories

May 9, 2013

Dr. John Wolfe dies at 71; was key defender of AGH

Retired physician John Wolfe, a champion of local hospital services and advocate for a secure Addison Gilbert Hospital in the face of the growing corporatization after its merger with Northeast Health Systems in 1994, died suddenly at his home Wednesday in West Gloucester. He was 71.

A decade ago, Wolfe led an insurgency of doctors against the the leadership of Northeast Health System’s board — and especially its controversial chief executive officer, Stephen Laverty — helping to expose policies that were stripping services to Beverly Hospital as part of a grand plan to create a regional medical system strong enough to survive against the challenge from Partners Health System, the Boston-based giant centered on Massachusetts General Hospital.

With Salem Hospital to the south and Wolfe’s Cape Ann Medical Center to the north, Beverely-based Northeast seemed on a track to reduce AGH to a shell when the Cape Ann Community arose in organized resistance.

A former chairman of the Gloucester Board of Health, Wolfe insisted that Cape Ann needed to have a secure full service hospital in Addison Gilbert.

He became Laverty’s nemesis almost from the onset of his tumultuous tenure at the head of Northeast which “merged” with AGH in the 1994.

Wolfe was soft-spoken but outspoken in his contempt for Laverty before he was allowed to resign in 2009 following an investigation by the state Department of Public Health into his unauthorized witnessing of women’s surgeries at Beverly Hospital.

After his retirement from practicing with Cape Ann Medical Center in 2009, Wolfe wrote to the Times on Sept. 10, 2010, after reading a Times story the previous day that the Northeast granted Laverty a $1 million “golden” parachute, “allegedly because there was no cause for firing him.

”I would say,” Wolfe wrote, that “the Northeast board had cause not to hire him in the first place, and long before 2009 certainly had cause to fire him.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN