Emergency medicine

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Emergency medicine is a medical specialty in which physicians care for patients with acute illnesses or injuries which require immediate medical attention. While not usually providing long-term or continuing care, emergency medicine physicians diagnose a variety of illnesses and undertake acute interventions to stabilize the patient. Emergency medicine physicians practice in hospital emergency departments, in pre-hospital settings via emergency medical services, other locations where initial medical treatment of illness takes place, and recently the intensive-care unit. Just as clinicians operate by immediacy rules under large emergency systems, emergency practitioners aim to diagnose emergent conditions and stabilize the patient for definitive care.

Physicians specializing in emergency medicine in the US can enter fellowships to receive credentials in subspecialties. These are palliative medicine, medical toxicology, wilderness medicine, pediatric emergency medicine, sports medicine, and undersea and hyperbaric medicine.

Contents

Scope

Emergency medicine has evolved to treat conditions that pose a threat to life, limb, or have a significant risk of morbidity. In the words of the International Federation for Emergency Medicine:

"Emergency medicine is a medical specialty—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 with a full spectrum of undifferentiated physical and behavioral disorders. It further encompasses an understanding of the development of pre-hospital and in-hospital emergency medical systems and the skills necessary for this development."[1]

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