What is Emergency Medicine? Duties and Sub Specializations Explained
Emergency medicine (EM) as mentioned in the name, is a specialty that has a great amount of impact on patients. Basically, emergency medicine is referred to as the immediate or primary evaluation and management of any acute illness or unexpected injury. Emergency medicine is a practice-based field that requires the skills of instant diagnosis and management of acute and unexpected illnesses. It involves people of all age groups with broad-spectrum disorders and ailments when the time is critical.
Emergency medicine (EM) includes areas of disaster management and planning, man-made and natural events, toxicology, critical care, and management, etc.
V One Hospital has highly trained and the best emergency medicine doctor for any kind of trauma or patient care ranging from first-aid & preventive treatment to rehabilitation and management.
Who is an Emergency Physician?
Emergency Medicine Physician or Doctor works in ER (Emergency rooms) and provides immediate care. Their first target is to stabilize and treat patients who experience traumatic injuries or acute health issues. The emergency physician treats patients in emergency rooms after which some patients are released from ER. The patients who need further assessment are admitted to the hospital at different specialty wards. An emergency doctor takes decisions about the patient’s conditions and treatment required after which they refer patients to different specialties for further treatment.
When a patient reaches to emergency medicine Room (ER), the emergency doctor collects information like name, address, primary contact number, and age. As per the patient’s condition, the emergency doctor prioritizes the need for treatment and analyzes the health concerns by:
- Physical examination – checking vital signs, examination of throat, nose, and ear.
- Patient symptoms consultation.
- Blood investigations like CBC, Chemistry profile, blood alcohol, and pregnancy tests.
- Imaging like X-rays, MRI, CT scans, etc.
The emergency doctor takes those tests and evaluates their results and plans for further treatment and management requirements, like the discharge of a patient with care instructions or appointment with a specialist, admission to the hospital, or if required emergency surgery to be done.
What is the Duty of Emergency Medicine Doctor?
An emergency medicine doctor, who is well referred to as an emergency physician treats their patients with life-threatening acute conditions and gives them emergency medical care.
The emergency doctor mainly works in the ER (emergency room) of the hospital with the directions to primarily attend to critical conditions. The main duty of an emergency medicine doctor near you is to make sure that the patient being attended to is stabilized before referring to any specialty or further treatment.
Stabilization of the patient is to be done as fast as possible with the available information or resources through examination of the patient to avoid any casualty or loss of life. The physician’s work involves carrying out investigations, diagnoses, and establishing treatment plans in each case of emergency.
In some cases, it is best to outline the prior diagnostic investigation, it should be done during the course of treatment or after referring to the intensive care unit (ICU) to save the life of the patients.
Additional Duties and Tasks of an Emergency Physician
- Make sure to keep and maintain all the medical records.
- Instant decision on evaluation and management of each patient brought to ER.
- Performance of ECG and backup arrangements of Emergency Medical Services, and immediately respond to all sorts of cardiopulmonary or cardiac arrests.
- Should be able to work simultaneously with different specialty departments and emergency departments.
- The emergency doctor should provide necessary instructions and guidelines to the patients and complete paperwork before the discharge of the patient.
- In case of multiple emergencies when patients come at the same time, an ER physician should have the capability to take help from other available personnel.
- The emergency doctor should review all the reports and lab investigations of the concerned patients before referral or discharge.
The duty of an emergency doctor/ physician is to focus on each and every patient in an ER equally. He/she should not ignore the other patients if there is one-two patient who needs an exhaustive workup. An emergency doctor has the duty to provide compassionate care to the best they can even in the case of limitations of staff, diagnostic availability, unavoidable patient load, lack of beds, etc. It is just the duty of the emergency doctor to rule out all the possibility of losing life in his/her ER.
Although it is not the sole responsibility of the physician to do so, it requires great teamwork and effort from each and everyone assigned in the ER to help and make it possible with the help of their superiors and trained doctors present in an Emergency Room.
What are the Sub Specializations in Emergency Medicine?
A physician specialist in Emergency Medicine focuses on instant decision making and takes spontaneous action necessary for patients’ care and avoiding loss of life in pre-hospital situations. It is done by instructing the medical emergency technician or staff in ER Emergency Room regarding the patient’s condition. He/She should have a specialty in providing instant evaluation, recognition, stabilization, and care of the patient with different types of illness or injury in populations of all age groups and society.
The sub-specializations in emergency medicine require additional training and the specialties that come under emergency medical care are:
1. Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine
An emergency medicine doctor who takes a specialization in anesthesiology critical care medicine should treat patients who have a critical illness. It is done mainly in cases of road accidents or multiple organ failure/dysfunction, which require continued care over a period of time. These doctors or critical care staff also provide the primary line of operations to the patients in the ICUs.
2. Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Pediatric Emergency Medicine Doctor acquire expertise in the emergency medical care of children with acute illness or critical injury. This will include all the illnesses related to infants or children under the age of 14 years.
3. Pain Medicine
An Emergency Medicine Doctor with a specialization in Pain Medicine helps in providing the proper causes of pain and treatment to the patients. Pain Medicine Physicians treat pain related to cancer or acute or chronic pain due to any trauma.
4. Hospice and Palliative Medicine
An Emergency Medicine Doctor who specializes in hospice and palliative medicine offers care to patients to relieve painful experiences due to terminal illness. The specialist works in coordination with interdisciplinary specialists to help the patient to enhance the quality of their life. This is done while considering all the psychological, social, physical, and spiritual needs of the patient.
5. Medical Toxicology
Emergency Physicians with a specialization in medical toxicology deal with the evaluation, treatment, and prevention, of illness and injury caused due to exposure to hazardous chemicals or drugs. Medical toxicologists provide care for people by monitoring the exposure of industrial toxins in the government and public health settings, and poison control centers.
Medical toxicology comprises drug abuse, acute drug poisoning, addiction or withdrawal, venomous bites, chemicals, and hazardous materials, etc.
6. Critical Care Medicine – Internal Medicine
An Emergency Medicine Physician trained in Critical Care Medicine provides care to patients by treatment in case of critically ill or mainly trauma victims. Internal medicine physician also manages patient care among the primary physician, critical care staff, and specific specialists.
7. Neuro-critical Care
This specialty provides care to patients with neurological disorders. The Emergency Physician with neuro-critical care specialization is dedicated to providing every possible care to any patient’s neurological disorder.
8. Sports Medicine
Emergency medicine physician specializes in sports medicine and provides emergency care for injuries related to participants in sports. They help in the prevention and treatment of injuries or trauma caused during physical activities in sports. These physicians provide care in the management of illness and injuries of the patient and monitor their performance during sports.
Mastering Emergency Medicine: Challenges and Rewards
Becoming proficient in emergency medicine is not just about medical expertise; it’s a journey laden with challenges and rewarding experiences. Emergency medicine practitioners, especially in high-pressure environments like the ER, face an array of hurdles that demand exceptional resilience and quick thinking.
1. Fast-Paced Decision-Making
One of the significant challenges faced by emergency medicine specialists is the need for rapid decision-making. In critical situations, split-second decisions can be life-saving. The ability to assess a patient’s condition swiftly and accurately is a skill emergency physicians hone through extensive training and real-world experience.
2. Managing Diverse Cases
Emergency rooms are a melting pot of ailments and injuries. From minor cuts and bruises to severe trauma, emergency physicians must be prepared to handle a vast range of cases. This diversity demands a comprehensive understanding of various medical fields, enabling doctors to diagnose and treat conditions effectively.
3. Emotional Toll and Compassion Fatigue
Dealing with emergencies, especially those involving children or severe trauma, can take an emotional toll on healthcare professionals. Compassion fatigue, a state of emotional exhaustion, can be challenging to navigate. Balancing empathy with professional detachment is a delicate skill emergency doctors must develop to continue providing high-quality care without burnout.
4. Team Collaboration
In emergency medicine, teamwork is paramount. Collaboration between different specialties, nurses, technicians, and support staff is crucial for efficient patient care. Emergency physicians often lead these teams, requiring strong leadership skills and effective communication to ensure seamless coordination.