IS MEM REALLY ILLEGAL???
The so called MEM (MASTERS IN EMERGENCY MEDICINE ) is a 3 year long
training programme in emergency
medicine for those who have passed MBBS and have a valid MCI registration. So now say you don't have an MEM degree or your MEM IS deemed invalid or as some gentle men now say as illegal ,then you still have a valid ,legal, degree or MBBS.
Now let us look back to an era where there was no MEM nor a concept of emergency medicine. Probably a decade or two decade back. Who was manning the emergency departments then??The same people who only have a valid MBBS degree. The junior most MBBS pass out deals all sort of emergencies. There was patients with cardiac arrest,there were aortic dissections,there were tension pneumothorax,there were anaphylaxis,there were class 4 hypovolemic shocks. Every thing was managed by connecting and reconnecting the pulse oximeter,checking and rechecking the BLOOD Pressure,and then dialling and waiting for a senior consultant to come and declare the patient dead or to explain a poor prognosis. After gone through this painful scenario for a long time and experiencing this pathetic condition of emergency care in India a few U.K. and US returned doctors started thinking of improving the quality of emergency care in India. They started training the Indian MBBS doctors which over years took form of one year diploma programmes in various parts of the country. Later 3 year unrecognised MD seats were started by many universities seeing the importance of this speciality. Over the years George Washington university(GWU )took an initiative in training the MBBS people for two years ,seeing the tremendous difference it made in emergency care in the country it was made into a structured 3 year programme supported by SOCIETY FOR EMERGENCY MEDICINE IN INDIA(SEMI). The training was done by emergency physicians from GWU USA who travelled down to teach our people in India to make our emergency room a safe place. Over the years SEMI thought of having our own training programmes and had pressurised the authorities to recognise EM as a speciality and also the NBE to start DNB EM. It was the SEMI members who were the inspectors for DNB EM ,it was SEMI members who had set the curriculum for DNB EM. All with one aim. Proper emergency care to indian population. Now having seen the less number of EM seats and the huge requirement of emergency trained doctors SEMI started MEM programme with its own trained faculties. Again the aim was only to give proper emergency care to Indians. It is this programme by SEMI which was deemed illegal by TOI. See the irony,GOVT of India on one side is trying to issue a 2 year training programme for BSC nurses and then to promote them as doctors in rural area to curtle the shortage of doctors in rural area and on the other side proper MBBS doctors who have a proper structured training in emergency medicine is deemed illegal by the media. What's the purpose??is it anyway helpful in improving quality of emergency care in India ??do they want us to go back to those era where emergencies is managed by the MBBS doctors??or do they think the few recognised seats in EM can fill in the emergency departments of the country? We are living in a country where a former president died collapsing on the spot and didn't receive any CPR till he reached hospital and died. We live in a country where an MP had a cardiac arrest in parliament and was defibrillated only after reaching the hospital and died. Still we are worried about illegal degree in emergency medicine and not the lack of emergency care. If at all by any chance a journalist or a media is interested in health of people they should have brought the need of more trained ER doctors in the country and about recognising the effort put by SEMI and GWU for developing the Emergency care in the country. Hats off to SEMI for training lakhs of public in BLS,thousands of police men and fire fighters in BLS,thousands of paediatricians in PALS. Hats off to SEMI for improving pre hospital care in the country,102 and 108 are stunning examples. Hats off to SEMI leaders for putting the effort to start a structured training in EM. You made India recognise emergency medicine as a speciality and a much needed speciality. Even though journalism has lost its purpose,we doctors have not.our aim is to save lives and to do no harm. We will do it as long as we are doctors ,as long as we have MBBS. We will add only glory to that purpose if we have MEM and will Not ever forget the purpose if we have MEM.
If any one still feels that MEM is not needed in India then you need to study the current health statistics in India once again.
Disclaimer:The author himself is an MEM holder and feels very happy that he had done his MEM especially when he hears the sound of beating heart on monitor after 2 mins of CPR and also when a patient starts breathing after relieving a tension pneumothorax and the smile it brings on families.