Course ID: MED 997AF
Discipline: Surgery
Prerequisites: Year 4 standing
Available Sites: Lapeer, Mount Pleasant, Various Sites
Duration: 4 weeks


This elective provides students interested in emergency medicine an opportunity to improve their ability to care for patients in limited resource settings, and better understand patterns of disease and injury in rural communities. Students will learn and be required to: Interpret chest radiographs, pelvic radiographs and head CTs in acutely ill and injured patients; List the indications and contraindications for thrombolytic therapy in acute ischemic stroke; Explain the classification system for trauma center designations; List the requirements for transferring patients under EMTALA; Define the distinguishing characteristics of ALS and BLS ambulance services; Interpret chest radiographs, pelvic radiographs and head CTs in acutely ill and injured patients.

Key Objectives

  • Obtain a concise, accurate history and physical exam focused on the chief complaint.
  • Recognize immediately life-threatening conditions based on the initial complaint and assessment.
  • Develop a differential diagnosis that includes both “most likely” and “worst-case” diagnoses.
  • Develop an evaluation and treatment plan for the undifferentiated complaint, common diagnoses, and life-threatening presentations.
  • Understand the indications, costs, risks, and evidence behind commonly performed emergency department studies and procedures.
  • Present cases to clinical staff and/or consultant physicians in a concise and organized fashion.
  • Monitor the response to interventions and communicate findings with the treatment team.
  • Communicate effectively with patients, their family members, and emergency department personnel in ways that demonstrate respect, compassion, honesty, and collegiality.
  • Formulate disposition and follow-up plans for discharged patients with regard to their access to medical resources and available social support.
  • Provide patients and families anticipatory guidance related to presenting complaint, and assess their comprehension of discharge instructions prior to disposition.
  • Become familiar with the indications and processes required to initiate transfer of an acutely ill patient to a tertiary care center.

Assessment Method

College of Medicine standard elective assessment will be completed by supervising faculty at conclusion of elective clerkship.

Scheduling Information

Interested students should contact CMU College of Medicine Department of Distributed Clinical Education at