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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 89-90

History of Emergency Medicine

Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission18-Jul-2019
Date of Acceptance01-Aug-2019
Date of Web Publication26-Sep-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kundavaram Paul Prabhakar Abhilash
Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cmi.cmi_21_19

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How to cite this article:
Sanjay M, Abhilash KP. History of Emergency Medicine. Curr Med Issues 2019;17:89-90

How to cite this URL:
Sanjay M, Abhilash KP. History of Emergency Medicine. Curr Med Issues [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Feb 2];17:89-90. Available from: https://www.cmijournal.org/text.asp?2019/17/3/89/267906

Emergency medicine is the medical specialty concerned to treat acute illness (medical and surgical) and trauma, requiring immediate medical attention among all age groups. Emergency medicine, as an independent medical specialty, is relatively young. During the French Revolution, French military surgeon Dominique Jean Larrey inculcated the idea of ambulances, or “flying carriages,” to rapidly evacuate the wounded soldiers to a central place where medical aid was more accessible and effective. Hence, he was called the Father of Emergency Medicine for his strategies during the French war.[1]

Before the 1960s and 1970s, hospital emergency departments (EDs) were staffed by family physicians, general surgeons, or interns on a rotating basis. In many EDs, nurses would triage that patients and physicians would be called in based on the type and severity of injury or illness. During this period, groups of physicians left their respective practices to devote their work completely to establish the field of emergency medicine. In the UK, in 1952, Maurice Ellis was appointed as the first “casualty consultant” at Leeds General Infirmary, and in 1967, the Casualty Surgeons Association was established with Maurice Ellis as its first President.[1] In the US, the association was headed by Dr. James DeWitt Mills in 1961, along with his four associate physicians at Alexandria Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, established 24/7 year-round emergency care, which was known as the “Alexandria Plan.” In 1979, the American Board of Medical Specialties declared emergency medicine as an independent medical specialty in the US. The first emergency medicine residency program in the world was begun in 1970 at the University of Cincinnati, and the first Department of Emergency Medicine was started in 1971 at the University of Southern California.

Later, in the 1980s, in the US, the field of emergency medicine became one of the fastest-growing specialties, and EDs began to be overcrowded with enormous patients. It was estimated that there were approximately 5000 EDs in the U.S., and 42,000 physicians were practicing, providing the care for 136 million patients per annum.[2]

In 1990, the UK's Casualty Surgeons Association changed its name to the British Association for Accident and Emergency Medicine and subsequently became the British Association for Emergency Medicine (BAEM) in 2004. In 1993, an intercollegiate Faculty of Accident and Emergency Medicine (FAEM) was formed as a “daughter college” of six medical royal colleges in England and Scotland to arrange professional examinations and training. In 2005, the BAEM and the FAEM were merged to form the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which conducts membership and fellowship examinations and publishes guidelines and standards for the best practice of emergency medicine.

However, in India, it took a longer period to recognize the field of emergency medicine as an independent medical specialty and finally recognized by the Medical Council of India on July 21, 2009.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_medicine. [Last accessed on 2019 Jul 12].  Back to cited text no. 1
Available from: http://www.aaem.org/aboutaaem/aaemhistory?utm_medium=referral and utm_source=r360. [Lat accessed on 2019 Jul 15].  Back to cited text no. 2


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