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Emergency Pathophysiology: Clinical Applications for Prehospital Care

2013 Edition, May 15, 2013

Complete Document

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Active, Most Current

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ISBN: 978-1-59161-007-6
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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2013 Edition, May 15, 2013
  • Published Date: May 15, 2013
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 429
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


For many paramedics and providers involved with prehospital care and emergency medicine, the most engaging, yet challenging, subject areas entail the study of basic sciences. Unfortunately, due to the volume of information conferred over a year's time, adequate attention to these topics is seldom provided. In a quest to further my own understanding of prehospital medications and pathophysiology, I was surprised to find few resources to assist me with this endeavor. With new curricula and college-based EMS training programs, this appears to be changing.

In 1998, the United States Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration extensively revised the U.S. DOT curriculum for paramedic education.1 In addition to a required prerequisite course in anatomy and physiology, the educational model includes preparatory didactic segments on pharmacology and pathophysiology. In the final version of the U.S. DOT Paramedic National Standard Curriculum, the unit terminal objective for the General Principles of Pathophysiology section states:

At the completion of this unit, the paramedic will be able to apply the general concepts of pathophysiology for the assessment and management of emergency patients.1

With the advent of the 1998 U.S. DOT EMT-Paramedic National Standard Curriculum, paramedics are now responsible for a much more detailed understanding of medical emergencies than previously required.2

Most paramedic programs in the United States and Canada now require completion of a two-year training program that awards an associate degree in applied science.3 Once certified, paramedics are required to recertify annually or biannually. Continuing medical education is required on a yearly basis.3

The increased scope of practice and new training requirements have drastically changed the approach to paramedic education. For example, prior to 1998, the standard text by Bledsoe et al. was limited to one volume with 1,058 pages of text.4 Under the new curriculum, the text has been expanded to five volumes.2

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are already 150,000 jobs held by EMTs and paramedics in the United States.3 In addition, many more paramedics are unaccounted for, working as volunteers in rural areas and small towns. A recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that employment of EMTs and paramedics is expected to increase by 21% to 31% up through 2008.3

In most major paramedic teaching programs in the United States and Canada, students are required to purchase standard undergraduate anatomy and physiology texts.5,6 Most programs also utilize advanced physiology and pharmacology review books generally developed for exclusive use by medical students. Gould's 1997 publication is the only pathophysiology text written for allied health providers.7 This book presents a global approach to general pathophysiologic concepts without a specific focus on emergency medicine.

Until now, no text has provided both students and experienced providers with an introduction to the basic sciences of emergency prehospital care. Indeed, being able to answer why a particular drug is being given, or how the natural history of a patient unfolds, greatly facilitates an efficient transfer of prehospital provider care to physician care. It also makes a paramedic a better paramedic.

The information in this book is not solely presented for paramedics. The field of prehospital care is a gateway profession for further training in nursing, medicine, or other allied health professions. Nurses, medical students, physician assistants, and junior residents with an interest in emergency medicine will find the text useful. Since many prehospital providers are also educators (e.g., PALS, ACLS, BTLS), a fundamental understanding of the mechanisms behind disease processes is crucial.

This book is intended for providers of emergency medical care at all levels of training. Its aim is to provide a concise understanding of the known principles behind the science and practice of prehospital care for those not satisfied with the minimal instruction provided in modern paramedic and related emergency medicine courses.