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Emergency Medicine Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy The medical specialty of Emergency Medicine (EM) is based on knowledge and skills in the prevention, diagnosis and management of acute and urgent illness and injury affecting patients of all age groups with a full spectrum of physical, behavioral, and mental disorders. It also involves triage to determine which patients should be hospitalized for further treatment and which can be treate and released. The practice of EM, at least in large cities, is an intense and challenging experience requiring outstanding knowledge of medicine and mental stamina.

French military surgeon Dominique Jean Larrey is sometimes called the father of Emergency Medicine for his strategies during the French wars. Dr. Larrey, during the French Revolution, came up with the idea of Ambulances, or "Flying Carriages," for rapid transport of wounded soldiers to central locations where medical care was accessible and effective. He had this idea while observing the speed and effectiveness of the carriages of the French flying artillery as they maneuvered across the battlefield. Larrey manned Ambulances with drivers, medics and litter-bearers and had them bring the wounded to centralized field hospitals. thus he created the forerunner of the modern MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) units.

Emergency Medicine (EM) as a medical specialty is relatively young, having been recognized as a medical specialty only since 1979. Prior to the 1960's and 70's, hospital "emergency rooms" (ERs) were staffed by physicians on staff at the hospital on a rotating basis, among them internists, psychiatrists, general surgeons, and dermatologists. Physicians in training (i.e. interns and residents), foreign medical graduates and sometimes nurses also staffed the ER. EM was born as a specialty in order to fill the time commitment required by physicians on staff to work in the increasingly chaotic emergency departments of the time. During this period, groups of physicians began to emerge who had left their respective practices in order to devote their work completely to the ED. According to Wikipedia, the first of such groups was headed by Dr. James DeWitt Mills who, along with four associate physicians at Alexandria Hospital, VA established 24/7 year round emergency care which became known as the "Alexandria Plan". Soon, the problem of the "ER," propagated by published reports and media coverage of the poor state of affairs for emergency medical care had culminated with the establishment of the first emergency medicine training program at Cincinnati General Hospital, with Bruce Janiak, M.D. being the first emergency medicine resident in 1970. During the 1970's, several other residency programs developed throughout the country. At this time, EM was not yet a recognized specialty and hence had no primary board certification exam. It was not until the establishment of ACEP, the recognition of emergency medicine training programs by the AMA and the AOA, and in 1979 a historical vote by the American Board of Medical Specialties that EM became a recognized medical specialty.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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