Building 'Street Cred' for the Emergency Room

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media , November 13, 2012
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This article appears in the November 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

While at his desk, running errands, or driving to work in his emergency response vehicle provided by the local fire and EMS departments, Timothy G. Price, MD, listens for emergencies to come across the radio transceiver, which is programmed to all of the police, fire, and EMS frequencies. He often arrives first and starts patient care. Since 1997 he has provided medical support as a volunteer to the metro police department of Louisville, Ky. He's a full-time emergency room physician at the University of Louisville Hospital and an associate professor at the university's department of emergency medicine. At home, four children, a foreign exchange student, four horses, chickens, dogs, cats, and a rabbit keep Price and his wife of 27 years always on the go. Physician 105—as he is called over the radio—finally finds peace and quiet mowing his 40 acres in his air-conditioned tractor, his radio tuned to a country or Christian music station.

On improving prehospital care: The EMS providers out there greatly appreciate any involvement by doctors who try to educate and assist them because once they get in the street and start working, any real educational opportunities are few and far between. They don't get a lot of feedback from the hospitals in terms of what's going on with the patient and what could've been done better. So EMS providers in general I've found are generally starved for feedback and constructive criticism.

On working the streets: Being involved at the local level and making the runs gives me such a better understanding and appreciation for what is exactly happening in the streets—what works, what doesn't work, and what it takes sometimes to just get the patient to the hospital. It also gives me some street credibility, if you will, with the providers. They listen a bit better and they begin to understand that, yeah, I probably know what I'm talking about.

On having no normal work week: All of these activities to me are honestly my downtime. That is my enjoyment, to have little spurts of activity that I can do to help others. It's kind of exciting and interesting, and honestly it's good for emergency doctors that are a little ADHD, the type of people who would go absolutely nuts sitting in an office every day.

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This article appears in the November 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

Chelsea Rice is an associate editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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