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Dr. Chet Shermer
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A Note from Dr. Chet Shermer

Dr. Shermer is a Professor in Emergency Medicine and is the Department's Medical Director for Tel-Emergency.

Six months ago, I wrote a column extolling the virtues and hard work that went into combating the COVID-19 pandemic, with a sense that we were beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Little did I know that the secondary and tertiary effects of the pandemic would come to dominate our headlines and daily practice in the Emergency Department at UMMC. Thankfully, the morbidity and mortality associated with SARS-CoV-2 waned after a widely available vaccine was developed. But unfortunately, the virus continues to wreak havoc on our education system, supply chains, workforce, and economy. Despite this, we continued to train our residents and medical students while returning to our patient care, research, and service missions. 

Despite shortages of critical medications, IV contrast material for computed tomography imaging, and severe nursing shortages, we have been successful in these areas. Our departmental and institutional leadership supported the mission as our patient volumes slowly returned to baseline. Crowding and reduced staffed beds remain an issue, but we see improvement in these areas.

Within our department, we have solidified treatment algorithms with our inpatient colleagues. The PERT (Pulmonary Embolism Response Team) guidelines were published along with the new highly sensitive troponin assay roll-out. Consultations with our surgical teams have improved the care for traumatic cardiac arrest and disposition of victims of hanging injury.

Our department also began monthly updates from each of our Core Content Experts. Drs. McKenzie and Moriarity developed this program with the intent that each of us would delve more deeply into an assigned area of Emergency Medicine. In addition, we are responsible for reviewing new literature, book chapters, and lectures at conferences, after which we present updates to our entire faculty. The Core Content Expert Program has been a great success.

Finally, there was a transition in the medical directorship at the MS Center for Emergency Services (MCES). Drs. John McCarter, Brian Tollefson, and Chet Shermer assumed duties of MEDCOM, Public Safety, and Medical Transport Services, respectively. The MCES mission continues to function very well and is an incredible asset to our mission at UMMC. The Blue Crew Podcast is fully operational.

While COVID-19 has changed our lives and healthcare landscape, we continue to engage disease, injury, and other challenges as they come our way. We train to be resourceful, resilient, and innovative, which is just what is needed as we move forward.