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EMERGENCY PHYSICIANS SAY AMERICANS NEED TO BE BETTER PREPARED FOR EMERGENCIES; NEW BROCHURE OFFERS TIPS

 WASHINGTON, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- One in three Americans -- including approximately 35 million children -- will need emergency medical treatment this year. Despite these odds, specialists in emergency medicine warn that many of these individuals and their families may not be adequately prepared to respond to a medical emergency.
 A recent national survey commissioned by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the Upjohn Company found that only one- third of respondents rated their household as "very well prepared" to handle an emergency. The survey also found that only one in five families has discussed what to do in a medical emergency with their family doctor or pediatrician.
 "Emergency medical care is a public service like fire or police. People know it's important, but they don't think about it until they need it," says John B. McCabe, M.D., president-elect of ACEP and the chair of the department of emergency medicine at SUNY Health Science Center in Syracuse, N.Y. "It's really sad when the difference between full recovery and permanent injury was just a few minutes that a family could have gained by knowing what to do."
 According to McCabe, there are also barriers within the emergency medical services system that contribute to the problem. "Emergency medicine doesn't have hundreds of years of research. We've built the system from the ground up in the past 25 years."
 As a result, McCabe says, not every community or every facility within a community has the same resources. For example, 30 percent of Americans live in a community that does not have 9-1-1 service, and much of the system depends on volunteers who are under equipped and underfunded. Also, the Institute of Medicine is expected to release a report today on the status of emergency medical services for children, outlining needed improvements.
 McCabe believes that medical professionals and public officials need to make emergency medical services, including public education, a priority.
 Although it may seem intimidating, McCabe says it's actually very simple for the public to be well-prepared for an emergency. "Knowing how to call for help is the first step -- that means calling 9-1-1 or, if you don't have 9-1-1, calling the seven-digit emergency number. Also you should have a regular family doctor who handles routine illnesses and injuries as well as preventive care. Talk to your doctor about emergency care in your community, and follow his recommendations. Finally, learn CPR, and keep a first aid kit with a first aid guide in an accessible place in your home."
 The American College of Emergency Physicians also offers a brochure, "What You Should Know About Emergency Care," to help people learn more. For a free copy, send a self-addressed, stamped business-size envelope to: Emergency Brochure, 307 W. 36th St., Eighth Floor, New York, N.Y. 10018.
 -0- 7/7/93
 /CONTACT: Jane Howell of the American College of Emergency Physicians, 202-728-0610/


CO: American College of Emergency Physicians ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:

KD-DC -- DC004 -- 8922 07/07/93 08:35 EDT
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Date:Jul 7, 1993
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