History of the Department of Emergency Medicine


The original "Accident Room" at Johns Hopkins Hospital was a two-bed facility, and the first patients were treated free of charge. A police patrol wagon transported patients because ambulance services were not yet widely available.

Hopkins physicians were instrumental in developing the specialty of emergency medicine. In the 1950s, Hopkins originated the Emergency Squad Doctor Plan so that a physician on call could be taken to the scene of an accident to administer on-the-spot treatment. That initiative evolved into the Department of Emergency Medicine, which continues the tradition of innovation, service and excellence.

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The Emergency Medicine residency program began in 1974, funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as a two-year (PGY-II and PGY-III) program in the Department of Surgery. In 1982, The Johns Hopkins Hospital assumed responsibility for the program's funding, and Emergency Medicine became a division within the Department of Surgery. In July 1984, Dr. Sivertson, a 1983 graduate of the program, assumed the leadership of what was then the Division of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Kelen, a 1984 program graduate, headed both the residency and research programs. In keeping with the American Board of Emergency Medicine's dictate that all emergency medicine programs must be at least three years in length, the program adopted a three-year, PGY-I to -III format in July 1987. In 1994, the Department of Emergency Medicine was established as a full, independent academic department within the School of Medicine.

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Today, patients arrive by land or air at Hopkins' recently renovated Adult Emergency Department.  The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art technology including X-ray equipment in each critical care room, a fourth-generation CT scanner, bedside ultrasound, a fully equipped stat lab and online computer access to patient clinical information including paperless radiology. The Emergency Department also houses an Urgent Care Center and an Emergency-Acute Care Unit, an inpatient unit.

The Johns Hopkins Department of Emergency Medicine, as it evolves, remains true to its original mission: excellence in teaching and research and quality care for all patients, regardless of ability to pay.