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Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Section Newsletter - October 2014

From the Chair Elect

ACEP14 – Chicago ACEP14

The UHM section meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, October 29th from 9-11am in room W471A, McCormick Place West. Please mark your calendars; and check the on-site program for any changes. We hope to see everyone there!

Planned meeting highlights include election of officers: Chair Elect, Secretary/Newsletter Editor. The changed operational guidelines (officer terms are now for 2 years) voted on at the 2013 ACEP UHM section meeting were approved by the ACEP Board this past January. This will take effect with the elections to be held at the upcoming 2014 meeting. An educational presentation is being planned from me (Bruce Derrick). We also hope to have Mr. David McKenzie provide an update on reimbursement issues (also to be discussed later in this newsletter).

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News from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS)

Hello. Well, there has been a lot of activity surrounding the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS). There is much to discuss, so let me lay it out for you.

UHMS Annual Scientific Meeting, St. Louis, Missouri
This year’s annual scientific meeting in St. Louis was a great conference held at the Hyatt Regency right next to the Arch. Members from 24 countries were represented and the presentations were spectacular. There were 120 scientific abstracts and over 40 oral presentations. Dr. Neil Hampson gave the Kindwall lecture, focusing on his lifetime of work with carbon monoxide poisonings. There were three pre-courses: “Best Practices in Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care;” “Medical Examination of Diving Fatalities;” and How to Prepare for Accreditation.” We also had one post-course: “Accreditation Surveyor Training.” We were introduced to our new President, Dr. Jim Holm, and said farewell to Dr. John Feldmeier, who will remain on the board of directors as the immediate past president. Additionally, Dr. Enoch Huang has been elected the new president-elect. These are excellent choices in leadership that should guide us well as we make even more progressive moves forward.

A New Executive Director Takes the Helm
I also have the pleasure of relating that the UHMS has a new Executive Director, Mr. John Peters. After seven years, Dr. Peter Bennett has retired. At the UHMS ASM in St. Louis, Dr. Bennett gave the Lambertson lecture, describing his lifetime of work. His reign is ended, and the UHMS is now in the age of John Peters. Everyone is very excited by this dynamic leader. He has already made changes reflecting his mission of improving office efficiency and shaping the UHMS into the premiere, member-centered, professional hyperbaric medicine society.

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Section Chair Notes

It is estimated that around 200 of the nearly 650 board-certified Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine physicians are certified through the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM), as opposed to the parent board, American Board of Preventative Medicine (ABPM). Another 46 physicians are known to be certified through the American Osteopathic Conjoint Committee of Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine (AOCUHM). As we are all undoubtedly aware, the practice pathway has closed, and since that time, only graduates of fellowship programs can sit for the ABEM/ABPM UHM board exam. Growing concern for the future of the specialty has led some to consider further development of alternative credentials for practicing physicians to obtain, rather than seeking fellowship training.

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A Case of Diver’s “Broken Heart”

Case Description: A 70 year old female with a medical history of taking estrogen for the past 25 years and an avid, long-time scuba diver presents with acute onset shortness of breath after completing a dive one morning. While she reported rough environmental conditions at the time, in addition to her mask flooding on initial descent during the dive, she successfully completed a single dive off the coast of San Diego to 62 feet of seawater (fsw) for a total dive time of 28 minutes. Denying any buoyancy issues or rapid ascents, her computer did not alarm and she was tasked with a long swim back to her dive boat. On swimming toward the dive boat, she began to experience left-sided chest pain that was associated with shortness of breath which she noted to be unusual. She was subsequently placed on 100% oxygen via a non-rebreather face mask and brought to the emergency department for evaluation.

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