PRIMUM NON NOCERE

By Jeff Clawson, M.D.

This Blast goes way back to the time when the MPDS was first being concocted in draft form. As a very new emergency physician who was now working as the Fire Surgeon/Medical Director for the Salt Lake City Fire Department (Utah, USA), this column in the monthly magazine Emergency Medicine was never to be missed. The December 1977 column specifically caught my attention, so much that I tore it out and saved it. Its Latin title, “Primum non nocere” means simply, “First Do No Harm”–a concept that takes center stage in both emergency dispatch and response. It taught me a lesson that I never forgot. Superficial evaluations and/or jumping to conclusions are always fraught with danger in medicine and public safety. The second case, while a little deeper clinically, also tells a story that should be learned as a general lesson for all. And those hits just keep on comin’ …

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jeff Clawson, M.D., is the inventor of the Priority Dispatch System and co-founder of the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED).

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