Obituary - Mike Schmidt

Colleagues and friends mourn sudden death of leading expert

By Claire Marchand

The IEC is mourning the unexpected death of a longtime leader in the world of international electromedical standardization. Michael Schmidt, 65, died suddenly on 17 February while on vacation with his wife Sylvia in Florida, USA.

Officers of the IEC SC 62D The IEC SC 62D team: from left, Juergen Stettin, Chair, Hae Choe, Assistant Secretary and Mike Schmidt, Secretary

The accident occurred a week before the Chairman’s Advisory Group (CAG) meeting of IEC Subcommittee (SC) 62A: Common aspects of electrical equipment used in medical practice. 

Schmidt, a principal consultant and owner of Strategic Device Compliance Services in Cincinnati, Ohio, had been actively involved in medical device regulatory and standards compliance for more than 20 years. 

Long-standing IEC expert

Schmidt had served as the Secretary of IEC SC 62D: Electromedical equipment, since 1996 and was the Convener of IEC SC 62A Maintenance Team (MT) 30, which dealt with overheating, fire protection, and additional hazards associated with electromedical equipment. 

He was also a committed member of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) since 1998, serving on several committees until 2014. He had been Co-Chair of the US Technical Advisory Group to IEC TC 62: Electrical equipment in medical practice, and SC 62A since 2014. 

In their own words

Because of his passionate involvement in IEC TC 62 over the years, Schmidt’s passing has created an evident void. 

“A few years ago, I saw Mike suffering with the passing of his first wife, so it was good to see him happy again when he married his new wife Sylvia,” remembered Norbert Bischof, Secretary of IEC TC 62 and director of technical regulation and standardization at Siemens. 

“Mike has been a true caretaker for IEC SC 62D for two decades. He was an incredible moderator with a strong and deep voice unifying committee opinions into one consensus,” said Juergen Stettin, Chair of this Subcommittee and CEO of ProSystem. “He has given me a lot of good advice, and I really miss him as a good friend.” 

Others involved with this committee said they would miss Schmidt’s input—both professionally and personally. 

“I worked with Mike for about 10 years, and he had become a dear friend,” said Hae Choe, Assistant Secretary of IEC SC 62A and a standards director at AAMI. “Because of our work with this group, we talked or emailed almost every day, so it is strange to not see a message from him. I will miss his sense of humor, his incredible dedication and drive, his passion for life, his love of good food, and just not being able to talk with him.” 

For Justin McCarthy, Chair of IEC SC 62A and a consultant clinical engineer, Schmidt was truly one of a kind. “Mike was a one-off,” McCarthy said. “His contribution to our work was passionate and thorough, and he has made a great contribution to the safety of medical electrical equipment and therefore to the safety of patients. He will be greatly missed.” 

Chuck Sidebottom, Secretary of IEC SC 62A, echoed this sentiment. “Mike was passionate about patient safety, the value of standards and the standardization process, and the drive to get on with the job,” Sidebottom said. “His energy and insight will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege to know and work with him.” 

At the IEC Central Office, Technical Department Manager Rémy Baillif, who was the Technical Officer in charge of TC 62 for many years, and Dennis Clagett, who’s retired today but was the IEC Editor of the IEC 60601 series of International Standards on medical electrical equipment have fond memories of Mike Schmidt. 

“He was a true character who made a strong impression on those who met him and had the opportunity to work with him,” Baillif reminisces.

Mike Schmidt Mike Schmidt
Officers of the IEC SC 62D The IEC SC 62D team: from left, Juergen Stettin, Chair, Hae Choe, Assistant Secretary and Mike Schmidt, Secretary