Emergency medicine, also known as accident and emergency medicine, is a field of medicine which focuses on illnesses and injuries that require an immediate medical attention. Emergency physicians look after people of all ages and are responsible for resuscitation, stabilisation and intervention to diagnose and treat illnesses which are in an acute phase. Emergency physicians usually work in the hospital emergency departments, as well as in intensive care units and pre-hospital settings. They are often specialised in disaster medicine, ultrasonography, medical toxicology, critical care medicine and palliative care.
There are different models worldwide related to this discipline. The Anglo-American model relates emergency medicine to surgeons, general practitioners and other generalist physicians. Contrarily, the Franco-German model associates the subject to anesthesiologists, surgeons and specialists who work in internal medicine.
The origins of this discipline relate to the French Revolution when Dominique Jean Larrey created the idea of ‘ambulance’ to transport wounded soldiers to a place where they were receiving medical care.
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