We’ve seen television shows like ER glamourize the life of an emergency room physician. Depicting a scene of coordinated chaos in which everything – more or less – always goes according to plan. But the reality is much different. From minor cuts and bruises to traumatic life and death situations, ER physicians never know what will come through the doors. Every shift and every patient is like a game of chance. Therefore, ER doctors must be prepared for all situations and be able to function under some of the most extreme circumstances – all while performing at the top of their game.
Emergency medicine focuses on diagnosing and treating unexpected illnesses and injuries, and includes the initial evaluation, diagnoses and treatment or coordination of treatment of a patient. And while there are approximately a few hundred ER physicians within BC, not all are full-time and among them are varying levels of accreditation affecting what services they can provide. Simply put, there aren’t nearly enough to meet the growing demand on ERs, and the growing needs of ER patients. This leads to recruitment issues – one challenge the specialty faces.
But the number one issue facing Emergency Medicine is overcrowding. “Patients waiting on hallway stretchers and being treated in waiting room chairs because of a lack of beds is not only a reality, it’s becoming the norm,” says Dr David Haughton, President of the Section of Emergency Medicine.
Funding from the Specialist Services Committee (SSC) is helping to address the issue of recruitment by providing opportunities for additional training and accreditation through CME courses. Furthermore, the Section of Emergency Medicine is working with SSC to identify additional ways help can be provided.