Emergency Physicians Show the World What Excellence Looks Like

Feb 03, 2023

On Monday, January 2, a professional football player suffered a syncopal event a few seconds after arising from what appeared to be a routine tackle. Emergency physicians, on duty for the game, rushed to his side. Within seconds chest compressions began and a short time later, an AED successfully defibrillated the young man who was suffering cardiac arrest. He then experienced return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) and was moved to the ground ambulance. His resuscitation then continued and included a prehospital intubation, ED care at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and post-resuscitation care there by an emergency physician. As you know, Damar Hamlin is alive and well.  

This is a phenomenal success story and reflects the outstanding preparation by the medical staff and precise implementation of modern emergency resuscitation decisions and procedures. These emergency physicians showed the world, on live television, what excellence looks like. I think we should all congratulate this effort and pause in our busy lives to remember how amazing our specialty really is. 

Emergency Medicine physicians, in collaboration with other physician and non-physician researchers, have pioneered, refined, and implemented prehospital cardiac arrest resuscitation. Innovations with minimally interrupted, chest compression only CPR, automatic defibrillators in public spaces, resuscitation pharmacology, and post-resuscitation care all emerged largely from emergency medicine physician–led research. The clinical practice of emergency medicine, focusing on the undifferentiated patient, is unique to all disciplines. I truly believe that it is because of the specialty of emergency medicine, that Damar Hamlin is alive. Unfortunately, our work is not done. Over 300,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year in this country, and survival remains dismal. I urge all of us to consider what we can do to improve the odds of survival. We know it means giving others what Damar received: chest compressions and an AED as soon as possible.

Please join me in congratulating these exceptional ABEM-certified emergency physicians and the University of Cincinnati Department of Emergency Medicine! 

At the game*
B. Woods Curry, M.D. (EMS)
Jason T. McMullan, M.D. (EMS)
Robbie E. Paulsen, M.D.
Bret E. Betz, M.D. (Sports Medicine)
Alexa R. Sabedra, M.D.

In the ICU**
William “Billy” Knight IV, M.D.



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