January 4, 2021

Message from the Chair

Hello and Happy New Year to you and yours!

Welcome to 2021.  I sincerely hope this letter finds you and your loved ones doing well.  Most of us look back on this past year with mixed emotions.  The COVID 19 pandemic has brought many challenges and has significantly impacted each of our lives. As things continue to evolve and change, we have had both triumphs and defeats, and our world has changed in multiple ways.  We have had to learn new methods of delivering emergency care, becoming more comfortable working in hazardous environments where the threat is invisible. We have all grown closer, and tragically many have lost close relatives and friends, and to those we extend our condolences and prayers.  A contested election shows the sharp divisions in our country, and negative portrayals of law enforcement continue to dominate the news.  I am an eternal optimist, and I feel confident that our society will soon correct itself and get off this unfortunate pathway.  To do so will require the input and guidance of good folks such as those we have in our section and college.  Thank you for all you do to make this great world even better.

What are the challenges of 2021?  We need to overcome political division and remember that as Americans, we have much more in common than we do differences.  We can identify, meet, and overcome adversity in any form, as has been our custom.  Emergency physicians and other members of our medical community need to work together to decrease suffering and to seek cures.

The challenges of Tactical Emergency Medicine (TEM) are many, and thanks to our section members there has been much progress.  Still, multiple barriers and controversies lie ahead.  We will rely on our section members for ideas on how to enhance tactical medical care and support for the brave women and men in Blue and Camo who serve and protect, and help keep our society safe.

Our section leaders have had multiple meetings and discussions since October, reviewing member surveys to best identify key areas in tactical medicine. Among the items highlighted for action are the following:

  • What are the law enforcement skills and knowledge needed by Tactical Medical Providers?  And what is the best way to obtain this education?
  • What life-saving interventions should be learned by patrol officers, deputies and tactical operators for self-aid, buddy-aid, and citizen-aid?
  • How can physicians best obtain the medical malpractice insurance coverage necessary for supporting police, such as deploying on operational SWAT / TEMS missions or other medical support?
  • Are there benefits for a tactical physician to become a sworn law enforcement officer?  -Should TMPs be armed for protection of self, patients, and others?
  • What is the best way for interested physicians to get initial SWAT and TEM training, as well as obtain CME and skill refreshers?

To help answer these questions and others, our section leaders and members are aligning with multiple like-minded physicians at the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Tactical Officers Association, Special Operations Medical Association, and others.  We will look to our section members to contribute ideas, protocols, photographs, training lectures, and other resources.

Our website continues to be improved thanks to ACEP’s Deanna Harper and Director Rick Murray along with our leadership team and others.  If you have any materials to share or suggestions for improvement, please notify Deanna.

The December 2020 Newsletter was completed several weeks ago, but delays in publication occurred due to unfortunate COVID infections in several key ACEP administration personnel, and it should be published very soon this week or next. Dr. Keegan Bradley has been a strong Newsletter Editor these past 2 years. He is now elected to the role of Secretary for our Section, where he will continue to be a bright light of enthusiasm and knowledge.  Our new Newsletter Editor, Dr. Dominique Wong, is an experienced TMP.  See her letter and greetings in the newsletter.  Dr. Bradley will continue his support as assistant newsletter editor.  Thank you both Dr. Bradley and Dr. Wong, along with Dr. Brian Springer for his editing and contributions, and Deanna Harper.  In this next issue we have lots of material that we hope you find worthwhile, and that will enhance your abilities and knowledge.

Thank you all for your dedication.  May 2021 be a successful year for you and each of our section members and families.

Respectfully yours,

John Wipfler, MD, FACEP
TEMS Chair

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