ACEP TEMS Section Newsletter Introduction March 2021
Welcome to the 2021 first quarter ACEP Tactical Emergency Medicine Section Newsletter. There is truly a wealth of information in this issue ranging from the Less Lethal, Use of Force Injuries presentation by Dr Daniel Schwartz to Tac Medic Morgan West’s article about Portland, Oregon’s TEMS/Rapid Response Team’s approach to civil disturbance. These two providers are experts in the field, and I am grateful for their contributions.
Our Section Chair, Dr. John Wipfler, contributes a fascinating case report. His expertise and dedication to TEMS are evident when you read his article.
Dr. George Lindbeck provides valuable lessons learned on providing medical care in the field during civil unrest in his article on the deadly 2017 Unite the Right Rally. It is apparent that some protestors are extremely organized and quickly adaptable, rapidly sharing information among themselves. TEMS providers responding to civil unrest must be similarly adaptable, sharing information rapidly.
Conversations with TEMS operators on both coasts who worked recent civil disturbances elicited concerns of unknown liquids being thrown at police. Hydrofluoric acid has been used in acts of vandalism during protests, and potential exists for its use against LEO. This newsletter contains a review of the recognition and management of hydrofluoric acid exposure.
As we work to decrease morbidity and mortality among police, it is important to regularly revisit the common causes of law enforcement death. New data reveals shocking statistics: law enforcement line of duty deaths in 2020 have more than doubled from the year prior. COVID-19 was responsible for more line of duty LEO deaths than all other causes. 222 officers died from COVID-19 in 2020, among them parents, grandparents, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, foster parents, police chiefs, survivors of 9/11 cancers, TOP COPS award winners, and ambush survivors. Many years of law enforcement experience were lost. Victims ranged from 26 to 79 years of age. These statistics are a sobering reminder of the importance of our role as medical advisors for the teams and agencies we work with.
In the tradition of my newsletter editor predecessors, Dr. Keegan Bradley and Dr. Farouk Mehkri, I have included a training program overview. Dr. Lawrence Heiskell, founder of the International School of Tactical Medicine, shares what he thinks is unique about his program. This is not an ACEP or personal endorsement, but rather a showcase of the variety of TEMS training programs available. If you have a program to highlight in future issues, please let me know.
Lastly, I want to acknowledge Dr. Brian Springer’s role in this newsletter. He is a TEMS professional, incredibly patient and an editing master (Thanks!- Ed.)
As always, I hope you enjoy the content. I appreciate any feedback, and if you are interested in contributing, please reach out to me! I am always looking for a case report, gear review or anything TacMed for future issues.