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Editorial August 2009 - Academic Emergency Medicine in India

Editorial August 2009
Academic Emergency Medicine in India

With the first hospital based training program in emergency medicine for doctors starting in 1997, we have come a long way. It will be a rollercoaster ride in emergency medicine academics from now on. An MBBS graduate now has a wide choice of EM training programs available in India.

From a cheap 6 month online certificate course in Accident & Emergency Medicine to a 3 year post graduate program costing 18lakh, there are a multitude of 1year, 2 year & 3 year EM residency programs. It is quite obvious that every single of these academic trainings are occurring in private institutes as of today. EmergencyMedicine.in conducted a survey of established Indian emergency departments in April 2009, which showed that there are more than 212 doctors undergoing training in the field of emergency medicine, in private institutes. This number is even higher now.

As mentioned in a number of recent articles, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has still not recognized emergency medicine as a specialty in India. Judging from the activity at www.indusem.com, it seems that AIIMS is all set to start a formal MD in emergency medicine and push this down to all other medical colleges across India. Faculty training is already under way. As per their recent newsletter, the faculty for training new EM physicians will be drawn from other specialties until EM postgraduates in training exit and take over the departments, which has been estimated to take about 25 years!

In sharp contrast, private hospitals started certification programs in emergency medicine way back in the late 90s. The teaching, restructuring & faculty evolution over the past few years has improved emergency care to such a level that the EM resident training at some Indian private institutes & corporate hospitals today is far superior, if not at par, to that available in any other pioneering country in the world. Both clinical & academic emergency medicine is highly dependent on active EMS networks, well organized emergency departments, advanced high end investigations, specialty-superspecialty care, information technology, and most importantly, presence of teaching faculty trained purely in emergency medicine. And this is what makes the private sector more attractive for the ideal EM learning experience.

But still, it is the government hospitals which will be caring for the majority of our sick population and those who have taken the onus of either establishing or learning the specialty of emergency medicine in this segment will certainly have a tough time on the casualty floors even if it has been a cake walk on paper!

Dr. Imron Subhan



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