Emergency Medicine

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Medical Oversight Branch

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) systems weave the operations of public safety, public health, and the science, practice, and technology of emergency medicine into society's safety net.

These EMS systems match patient needs to available resources in a timely and effective manner to reduce Death, Disease, Disability, Discomfort, Dissatisfaction, and Destitution, resulting in the improvement of the health of the individual and the community they serve.  EMS is, literally, the practice of medicine outside of the hospital, through physician surrogates – Emergency Medical Technicians. Quality EMS includes active involvement from physician medical directors who work with field providers to integrate and enhance all of these areas.


Milwaukee County EMS

For nearly 35 years, the Department of Emergency Medicine has partnered with Milwaukee County Emergency Medical Services to deliver scientifically-based, advanced emergency medical care to the citizens and visitors of Milwaukee County.  Currently, roughly 300 paramedics in the Milwaukee County EMS system assess and treat over 26,000 patients every year.  Medical oversight of this out-of-hospital care is provided by physicians in the Section of Out-of-Hospital and Disaster Medicine.

The Section Chief has a dual role as the Director of Medical Services for Milwaukee County EMS. As an EMS fellowship-trained, board-certified emergency physician, the Medical Director's role is to authorize the practice of Milwaukee County EMS paramedics, and to advocate for the patient by ensuring the highest level of care.  Working in collaboration with the system's staff and field providers, the Medical Director is involved in all aspects of medical policy and procedures, quality improvement, communications, research, and education.

Members of the Section of Out-of-Hospital and Disaster Medicine are appointed as Associate and Assistant Medical Directors for the Milwaukee County EMS system. These emergency physicians also participate in furnishing direct and indirect medical oversight for the system.  Each is responsible for specific areas of EMS.  Together, the medical directors sit on various local, state, and national committees focusing on improving emergency medical care.  All Section physicians are dedicated to fostering the Medical College of Wisconsin's tradition of medical excellence and to maintaining Milwaukee County's reputation as one of the top systems in the world.


Kenosha Fire Department

A Section physician serves as the Medical Director for the 160 firefighters and emergency medical technicians of the Kenosha Fire Department. The Medical Director works to promote high-quality emergency medical care through participation in protocol and policy development and review, quality assurance, and field provider education and training.


Milwaukee Fire Department

The Section of Out-of-Hospital and Disaster Medicine also serves the first responders of the City of Milwaukee Fire Department (MFD).  The Section provides a Medical Director, and several department physicians who partner with the Medical College of Wisconsin's Occupational Health Services to assist MFD in ensuring the health and safety of its employees.  Activities include medical support for fire suppression, hazardous materials, urban rescue, dive, tactical, and EMS operations.  Emergency physicians also collaborate with the department to develop cutting-edge protocols to maximize quality patient care to the citizens of Milwaukee.


Flight for Life

Flight For Life (FFL) is a helicopter air ambulance transport system serving southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.  FFL operates three state of the art helicopters exceeding FAA safety recommendations and has been operating since 1984 completing over 30,000 safe patient transports.  FFL is accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Medical Transportation Systems, an arduous voluntary process demonstrating commitment to quality and safety.  Additionally, FFL was honored to receive the Program of the Year 2011 Vision Zero Safety Award (pdf), a prestigious industry sponsored award to a program that has demonstrated an overall commitment to safety.

Members of the Section of Out-of-Hospital and Disaster Medicine serve as the Medical Director for Flight For Life.  In addition, flight crews have access to department faculty at all times for on-line medical oversight.


Pediatric EMS

The Pediatric EMS group's mission is to ensure that children receive the best care from all EMS providers. Medical direction for all components of out-of-hospital pediatric care is provided by an EMS fellowship trained pediatric emergency physician. Section physicians provide leadership to the Milwaukee County EMS system, including didactic education, off-line patient care protocol development, and assistance with the performance improvement process for pediatric patients.

In addition, the pediatric EMS physician has a leadership appointment within the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin as the medical director of out-of-hospital care. In this capacity, the pediatric medical director provides input to the emergency department and trauma programs on prehospital performance improvement. Through the state disaster preparedness committee, the branch is actively involved in the development of the "patients at risk" state electronic database.

Pediatric leadership is also provided to various local and state agencies such as the Milwaukee County EMS committee, the state of Wisconsin's EMS Physicians Advisory Committee, the state trauma center verification reviewers, the state EMS for Children (EMS-C) advisory board, and the state pediatric disaster preparedness committee.

In keeping with the Section of Out-of-Hospital and Disaster Medicine's research and educational goals, the pediatric medical director collaborates with Children's Hospital of Wisconsin staff in providing pediatric education to both local, regional, and state public and private EMS providers. The Section also secured two federal grants to develop an educational program on pediatric pain management for prehospital providers. The Section also includes a rotation in prehospital care as part of the training curriculum for pediatric emergency medicine fellows.


State of Wisconsin EMS

Members of the Section also serve in advisory roles to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services EMS office and state EMS Board.  Currently, MCW faculty members serve as the EMS Medical Director for the state, and also as members on the EMS Physician Advisory Committee.

© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 09/23/2014