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March 6, 2010 / jeffmedic

Gathering of Eagles Day 1

Last weekend was my second trip to Dallas for the Gathering of Eagles. For the uninitiated, Gathering of Eagles is a conference put on by the medical directors of some of the largest EMS systems in the USA, Canada, and the UK. It is two days of 10-15 minutes presentations covering a wide variety of EMS topics. Each of the speakers is a respected EMS physician who believe in the importance of prehospital emergency care and the EMT’s and paramedics who provide that care.

The conference was held at the amazing Fairmont Dallas Hotel. The Fairmont was the venue for last year’s Gathering as well. Both years that I have gone, the Fairmont rolled out the red carpet for us. The hotel is beautiful, the service was first rate, and the food was great. It was a little weird staying in a real hotel, being a solidly Motel 6 kind of guy. I am not used to having people park my car or get my bags. I am also not used to having someone check me in who actually seems interested in making my stay pleasant. I can’t wait to take my wife to the Fairmont Dallas.

I hitched a ride to Dallas with a coworker from the EMS agency that I work as a Rent-a-Medic for. Along the way we ran into someone we both knew from previous jobs. It is really a small world. We arrived at the hotel after 2100 and got settled in. Amanda roomed with another coworker of ours and her daughter. I was excited to have a room to myself until I tried to go to bed alone. I’ve been married three years now and I just can’t sleep alone anymore. I know, I’m whipped.

The morning started early for me. I made my way to the lobby to register. They gave us yellow rubber bands for lunch, a notebook, and a program. Looking at the program, I saw that this year would be just as silly as last year. These guys love to ham it up. Check out the program and you’ll know what I mean. I got down to the banquet hall in time to see the crews setting up for breakfast and the vendors setting up their displays. It looked like there were a lot more vendors this year. I love checking out all of the latest toys that people come up with. Eventually Amanda and Dawn made it down from their room as did Amy, my co-instructor, and her husband Kevin.

Dr. Paul Pepe, our host, began the conference with a few opening remarks. He was joined by Dr. Ray Fowler and then the race was on! Dr. Corey Slovis or Nashville was the first to present. His talk about the five most important papers relating to EMS that were published in the past year. Apparently Dr. Slovis likes to boil every thing down to the number 5. He took crap from the other Eagles throughout the entire conference. However he goes about it, Dr. Slovis always presents important information in a very accessible way. Later on Slovis and Fowler had their yearly debate. This year it was about intubation, but it ended up being more of an agreement than a debate. Hearing one physician call the other an “ignorant slut” ala Dan Akroyd was pretty awesome.

There were several presentations relating to disaster response including Dr. Saussy of New Orleans EMS talking about her trip to Cuba and Dr. Griswell recounting his recent trip to Haiti. Then the focus changed to trauma. My favorite presentation in this section was from Dr. Goodloe of Oklahoma about helmet removal. Dr. Persse of Houston gave an eye opening look at c-collars and blunt spinal trauma. There were also a couple lectures about tourniquets.

After a wonderful lunch, the focus was on cardiology. Each presentation was an eye-opener. I think the 2010 edition of the AHA guidelines will be bringing some serious improvements to pre-hospital care of cardiac arrest. What’s really cool is that there are services out there implementing changes right now that are producing significant results. Good research and thoughtful technology implementation are the future.

Late afternoon brought the current ACEP President, Dr. Gardner. She provided a view into the politics of Emergency Medicine and EMS that I had not seen before. There were a few other presentations about various topics that were all interesting. All in all the day was a feast of information. This feast, however, left me famished!

Supper was found at the Hoffbrau Steaks. Amanda, Dawn, Dawn’s daughter, and I met Amy and Kevin there. Instead of getting a steak, I decided to try the Dr. Pepper Chicken and was not disappointed. After supper we went to the western store adjacent to the restaurant and then we rode around a bit trying to think of something to do. We finally admitted defeat and went back to the hotel. I got to talk to Rachel, my wife, for awhile and then I crashed for the night. Check back for more riveting details from the Gathering of Eagles Day 2.

 

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