Emergency medicine is a field of practice based on the knowledge and skills required for the prevention, diagnosis and management of acute and urgent aspects of illness and injury affecting patients of all age groups. It further encompasses an understanding of the development of pre-hospital and in-hospital emergency medical systems and the skills necessary for this development.
Emergency medicine is a relatively new approach, within medicine that is expanding at a phenomenal pace throughout the globe. Emergency transcends all national boundaries. Many Less affluent countries have a significant proportion of road and Industrial accidents in a generally Young population. Morbidity and Mortality associated with accidents, acute illnesses, emergency conditions related to pregnancy and labour, can be reduced by increased awareness on how to prevent, increased knowledge and skill on early recognition and timely effective intervention, with basic knowledge and skills necessary beginning at the scene continued during transportation and in health institutions.
In Ethiopia injury is increasingly contributing to the burden of disease, and it is expected to rise even more, because of rapid urbanization, motorization, Industrialization, overcrowding , rapid population growth, and poverty. The health sector is facing a double burden of disease, since infectious disease are still accounting for the major part of the burden. The emergency care has been at a rudimentary stage in the health care system of the country, though the demand and necessity is very high.
Therefore, because of the increasing number of patients who need emergency care owing to prevalent diseases that can potentially lead to emergency condition and the incidence of road traffic accident (one of the highest in the world) has led the FMOH to look for a way organizing emergency set-up and also training health workers at each level on the principles of emergency patient care in both pre-hospital and health institution level.
Patient care in clinical practice is a comprehensive and continuous care provided to those who are sick in order to ensure cure or at least decrease the suffering and disabilities and to prevent deaths that can be prevented using available and accessible technology and manpower.
Death from chronic degenerative and related diseases is usually preceded by a period of illness where there is usually time for treatment and support. On the other hand, adequate time is not usually available in cases of acute life threatening conditions, most of which are not predictable.
The problem becomes more challenging when the resources are limited and when there is no available organized emergency medical service system that can handle these mostly preventable but life threatening diseases and accidents. The human resource capacity is among the challenges faced while thinking of establishing such a system.
Whatever be the cause of these life threatening incidents there is usually a very limited "Golden period" of time available to save the life and/or limb of the victim, if not properly managed, deaths can very naturally ensue. This "golden time" for the acutely sick may lapse for various reasons.
The first reason /factor which is beyond the control of health institutions is delay in arrival to hospitals due to absence of pre-hospital service and due to social, economic and behavioral factors influencing care seeking behavior of individuals. The second reason contributing for the lapse of this "golden period" is in availability of health institution set up that is well organized to handle optimally the victims of life threatening diseases. The third reason is lack of well trained and skilled emergency team placed in health facilities and outside institutions that can promptly respond to the needs of acutely affected patients. Therefore, emergency medical services, in order to prevent deaths which are preventable, has to be well organized both by trained higher and lower level medical professionals available around the clock and the necessary equipments and facilities ready at hand.
When you studied this module you will be able to develop the proper attitude and knowledge and skill on the concept, components of Emergency Medical Service System (EMSS), concept of emergency care such as Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and modified Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS), concepts of Disaster and disaster response which enables you to work as a team member whenever needed or when there is mass causalities or disaster.
Emergency medical service (EMS) system is a network of resources to provide emergency care to injured or acutely sick patients at the scene, during transportation and definitive medical care in health institutions. In this session you will learn to adopt the knowledge skill and the right attitudes on the activities of an EMS System, components of an EMS System, access to the EMS System Call, level of training of EMS providers, roles and responsibilities of EMS providers, role and responsibilities of Medical Oversight and In-Hospital Care System.