Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

The AAFP recognizes the need of modern society for emergency medical services. The AAFP, therefore, supports the development of optimal emergency systems and emergency facilities in all communities.

The AAFP strongly supports the AMA concept of a coordinated plan for EMS in each community. It further believes that emergency medical systems and facilities must remain under the direction of competent and well-trained physicians. Family physicians should play an integral role in the development, support, and participation in such systems.

The AAFP believes that any facility that publicly states it can manage medical emergencies must have 24-hour medical coverage by physicians with competence in the care of the critically ill or injured. These facilities must be capable of initiating measures directed toward recognition and stabilization of critically ill or injured patients and their referral to definitive care.

A facility so designated must be capable of providing the equipment and staffing necessary to permit rapid assessment, diagnosis, and stabilization of such acute medical emergencies. The patient's family physician should be notified of the emergency as soon as feasible.

It is the responsibility of all physicians in the community to see that emergency services are available and that definitive care can be obtained in a timely fashion. Here, also the family physician must continue to play a vital role. (1988) (2011 COD)