Emergency Medicine students practicing care

Stepping Forward

UNM Department of Emergency Medicine Creates New Division of Critical Care

The University of New Mexico Department of Emergency Medicine has established a new Division of Critical Care, making it the third department in the nation to take this step.

It joins the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and the Emergency Medical Services Academy as a division within the department, said Jon Marinaro, MD, chief of the newly created division.

Physicians often speak of the “golden hour” as a window to provide definitive care for a patient is brought an emergency department, like UNM Hospital’s Level I trauma center. If the patient survives, critical care provided in the following 24 hours – the “silver day” – plays a key role in determining their chances of leaving the hospital.

Marinaro credited Steve McLaughlin, MD, chair of Emergency Medicine, for supporting the move. “Nationally, over the past 20 years, critical care in emergency medicine has picked up steam,” he said.

“The University of New Mexico critical care program is currently the largest emergency medicine critical care program in the nation. Dr. McLaughlin, as a way to represent that and the progress we’ve made, thought that it should get divisional status within the Department of Emergency Medicine.”

McLaughlin says UNM’s emergency medicine critical care team stands out for a variety of reasons.

“I think our group taking that step to become a division – in addition to the size of our group and the span of care they provide – is kind of unique in the country,” McLaughlin said. “Moving to become a division really recognizes that unique role.”

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