Emergency Medical Care

All people should have access to emergency medical care. An acute medical emergency is an actual or perceived disorder of vital systems, presenting as an immediate or potential threat to life or function, whether due to illness or trauma. Family physicians have a basic understanding of resuscitation and emergency procedures through their residency training. Those family physicians working in isolated areas are encouraged to seek additional training and develop competency. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) encourages all office-based family physicians to develop practice appropriate protocols and have equipment to handle office emergencies, taking into consideration the distance (mileage or time) to definitive care, staff training and experience, and the availability of other community emergency medical services. Appropriately utilized, emergency medical care provided in an office setting should stabilize the patient until transer to the next level of care is available. Repeated, episodic emergency medical services should not be substituted for ongoing comprehensive care in a primary care setting. (1988) (2018 October BOD)