The few, the proud

Apparently, international emergency medicine isn’t for the faint of heart. And I’m not talking about CHF. You’ve gotta have guts. I found it interesting to learn that the greatest risk in practicing international emergency medicine is not that one might catch a communicable disease, but that one might die of physical violence. This according to Dr. Hilarie Cranmer, Clinical Instructor, Division of International Health and Humanitarian Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. In fact, physical violence against humanitarian workers is on the rise, and it is increasingly targeted and intentional. The red cross, which was once a symbol of protection, has become, for many, a target.

“We all want to save the world,” said Cranmer, “but you’re at great risk for doing so.”

Then again, emergency medicine isn’t a specialty for the risk-averse. I look around and see a lot of men and women ready and equipped for the challenge.

-Logan Plaster

Emergency Physicians Monthly

ICEM, Part I: Bat out of hell

First of all, a special thanks to GruntDoc for allowing me to host the blog this week while I attend the ICEM conference in San Francisco. A short travel story, without which any conference coverage would be incomplete. My wife and I arrived in the Bay Area last night after an uneventful flight and then promptly hopped into the cab from hell. Our driver looked sweet enough as we climbed in the car, but then we discovered that his right foot was made entirely of lead. He hurled through highway traffic at 90 mph. I kid you not. 90. In traffic. Let’s just say I’ll have to leave my scenic viewing of the Golden Gate Bridge to another ride.

But on to the show. ICEM is put on in coordination with the International Federation of Emergency Medicine (IFEM), a group which began as a small collection of countries with highly developed EM systems, but which has exploded in recent years. The meeting rotates through member countries, and the landmark international gathering will not take place in the United States again for at least 14 years. The conference will celebrate a year of unprecedented progress in the advancement of emergency medicine around the globe, such as in India where the specialty has finally made serious inroads thanks to the efforts of a little group of physicians called the American Association for Emergency Medicine in India (AAEMI). I have no doubt that the EM developments around the world will have far-reaching affects on the specialty in the United States.

-Logan Plaster

Emergency Physicians Monthly