Breadth of Emergency Medical Training in Pakistan
journal contributionposted on 15.04.2014, 00:00 by Janet Y. Lin, Saroosh Ahmed, Caroline Brander
Introduction: Emergency medical care in Pakistan has not been a priority of medical education and training because of the country’s need to address its lack of primary care. Resources and trained personnel are scarce. Despite these challenges, the value of emergency medical care is gaining attention. The objective of this study was to explore the breadth of Emergency Medicine training in Pakistan through an analysis of an Emergency Medicine residency in a teaching hospital. The Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi is a teaching institution with the only Emergency Medicine residency program in the region. It was started in 2000, led by US-trained physicians, and it laid the foundation for Emergency Medicine in the country. Methods: The study was conducted over a four-week period in January of 2009. Data collection consisted of three components: (1) a survey of the Emergency Department and hospital services; (2) a survey of the Emergency Medicine training curriculum; and (3) a retrospective chart review of every tenth patient seen in the Aga Khan Emergency Department from December 1-14, 2008. Results: The training program is similar to that of the US models. Of the 153 patients selected for the chart review, the majority presented with GI complaints. Of these, 51 (33%) were admitted to the hospital; 20% (n515) left against medical advice; the remaining 57% (n587) were discharged. Discussion/Conclusion: The hospital admitted patients with complaints that were expected in the region. Although Aga Khan University Hospital is a pioneer in establishing Emergency Medicine as an official medical discipline in the region, the hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology, trauma, toxicology and prehospital services training do not meet current curriculum standards set forth by the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine and the Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors. Nevertheless, the review provides a snapshot of the development of Emergency Medical Services in a developing nation. This information may assist other nations that are interested in developing such programs.