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Emergency Medicine Quote

A reader forwarded me some material published by the Emergency Medicine Residents Association regarding the choice of emergency medicine as a specialty.

One of the quotes from Dr. Brian Keaton, a past president from ACEP, caught my eye.

Patients have spoken with their feet, seeking [emergency department care] in unprecedented numbers. We are the ones you come to when you’re really sick, possibly sick, or kind of sick and in need of rapid evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment. We are the place you come to when you cannot or will not wait for others to find a place in their schedules for you, and the site of medical refuge when you don’t know where else to turn. Despite limited resources,unrealistic expectations, and impossible demand, emergency medicine delivers on our promise to provide the best possible care to every patient regardless of their ability to pay or what time of day they choose to seek care.
Alan Kay once said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” We’re in an inventing mode and are being presented with a historic opportunity to define both the future of our specialty and of American medicine. The opportunities in emergency medicine are endless and by choosing this career you will become a leader and a champion for the health care needs of your patients. The challenges before our health care system and emergency medicine are significant, but the rewards and honor of providing care to our communities are limitless.

6 Responses to “Emergency Medicine Quote”

  1. shortmatt says:

    Guess we in EMS could use the same linear thinking:

    Patients have spoken with their fingers, seeking [transportation] in unprecedented numbers. We are the ones you call to come when you’re really sick, possibly sick, or kind of sick and in need of rapid transport to the ones who can relieve your suffering. We are the ones you call when you cannot or will not wait for others to transport you, and the carriers to a medical refuge when you don’t know where else to turn. Despite limited resources, unrealistic expectations, and impossible demand, EMS delivers on our promise to provide the best and safest possible transport to every patient regardless of their ability to pay or what time of day they choose to seek care.

    Cheers :-)

  2. SeaSpray says:

    I am e-mailing this to some former ED Co-workers.

  3. WWWebb says:

    I can condense that quotation to a dozen words or so:

    “And it beats the hell out of choosing proctology as a specialty.”

  4. Doctor D says:

    I wonder if people coming to the ER for non-emergency medical issues should be construed as a good thing? A necessary evil perhaps, due to the problem of access to primary care?

    I have done both ER and Primary Care. The ER is designed for emergent problems and is unable to provide “the best possible” care of even standard care for primary care problems just due to the brevity the physician-patient relationship. A lot of patients assume being treated in an ER replaces primary care. Patients in the ER often tell me they don’t need a doctor for preventive care because they just come to the ER–a dangerous mistake.

    I’m not sure “reinventing” the ER as one-stop shop for all medical needs is a good idea.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think some people just don’t realize what a “life threatening” health issue really is. Or people don’t know that “emergency” = “life threatening”. It’s too bad you guys have to treat everyone that walks through the door knowing damn well that some of them could have gone to an urgent care/clinic. It’s almost become a standard for people with a broken limb to go to the emergency room. Um….it’s already broken….a few hours of delay in seeing a doctor isn’t going to make a difference.

    But then you risk someone dying because they didn’t think their problem was an emergency when it really was….

  6. ERMD says:

    Anon clearly you haven’t worked in an ED or in medicine in general, or had a fracture. It’s painful, might require IV narcotics or IM narcotics (depending on severity), if it’s open it needs to go to the ER, can cause vascular compromise, etc. Also, most clinics don’t have the necessary supplies to splint properly. Need a hematoma block? Not gonna happen in clinic. Even if they do have splinting materials, many physicians in a clinic setting will not have a staff who is familiar with/comfortable with splinting techniques, and the docs may not splint often enough to know what kind of splint is needed for a given fracture.

    I agree that many non-emergent patient complaints come to the ED, but fractures are not one of them.

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