Administration and Leadership, Commentary, EMS Today

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.? The 2016 Gathering of Eagles in Dallas

This week, JEMS editor-in-chief A.J. Heightman is attending the private two-day conclave of the Major Metropolitan Medical Directors in Dallas, which precedes the Gathering of Eagles conference. This year’s closed retreat is attended by 60 medical directors and EMS fellows (tomorrow’s leaders) who meet annually to discuss common issues in EMS and medical direction. Heightman reports, via a survey conducted by Eagles historian and archivist Jim Augustine, MD, that the medical directors involved in this year’s Eagles Retreat represent an astounding 17 centuries of EMS medical direction experience, 100 million people served and medical oversight for 143,000 EMS providers who handle 13 million responses per year.

Gathering of Eagles medical directors for EMS care

Heightman said “these amazing numbers show why the Eagles have such a major impact on change, enhancements and innovations in the EMS world. The group has worked in conjunction with JEMS to advance concepts, protocols and procedures for prehospital care that have been implemented in months versus years and changed the way all EMS agencies respond and care for patients.”

Gathering of Eagles medical directors for EMS care

Such important advances include adult IO use; CPAP in the field for ALS and BLS services; reduced use of unnecessary backboarding of patients; use of the MAD device for medication administration by EMS, fire and law enforcement responders; therapeutic hypothermia and impedance threshold devices for cardiac arrest patients; pit crew/choreographed resuscitation; mobile integrated healthcare; expanded use of tourniquets; STEMI; stroke and septic alert systems; and early use of ECMO.

This issues and innovations discussed at this year’s retreat will be reported to attendees of the Eagles Conference. These include research trials to decrease intracranial pressure (now shown to aid cardiac and cerebral profusion), the increased demand for service throughout the world, increased responses to overdoses and mental health emergencies, and increased emphasis on finding and correcting provider skill deficiencies or degradation.

Gathering of Eagles medical directors for EMS care

Ten of the Eagles are slated to lecture and report key concepts at EMS Today 2016 in Baltimore next week, including Dr. David Persee of Houston who will be recognized as one of the EMS 10 Top Innovators in EMS for his system’s work in development and implementation of the ETHAN project. The project allows Houston Fire response units to provide community paramedicine services via two-way audio/video teleconferencing with a dedicated physician control center, enabling patients to be referred to destinations other than the ED. This has resulted in better use of emergency resources and better triage of non-emergency patients to more appropriate clinics, reducing system abuse.

Register to attend the EMS Today 2016 next week in Baltimore, Md., which will feature lectures, panel discussion and updates by EMS 10 winners and members of the Eagles.