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University of Missouri

Populating the ER

A new emergency medicine residency program starts this summer.

ambulance

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Missouri’s shortage of physicians in rural areas includes those who staff emergency rooms. In response, a new residency program at MU starting in summer 2014 will prepare eight physicians a year in emergency medicine, a relatively new specialty. Historically, emergency physicians have come from the ranks of internal medicine and family medicine, says Dr. Marc Borenstein, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the MU School of Medicine. “During the past 40 years, the number and complexity of patients presenting to emergency rooms for evaluation and treatment has increased dramatically.” Although emergency physicians still stitch wounds and manage less serious illness and injury, they also stabilize critically ill and injured patients for transport, make time-dependent diagnoses and rule out serious conditions requiring immediate attention. Their new skills also keep people out of the hospital. “Over the course of six hours, for instance, we can manage a patient with a very elevated blood sugar that used to require admission to the hospital for one or two days,” Borenstein says.