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How the COVID-19 pandemic illustrated the importance of emergency medicine, and its vital role as a pillar of the healthcare system
  1. Eric P Heymann1,
  2. Aristomenis Exadaktylos2
  1. 1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Neuchâtel Cantonal Hospital, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  2. 2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Eric P Heymann, Department of Emergency Medicine, Neuchâtel Cantonal Hospital, Neuchâtel, 2000, Switzerland; eric.heymann{at}

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The COVID-19 has illustrated the pillar role played by Emergency Physicians (EPs) in the healthcare system. As with previous extraordinary events (such as the 2003 Svere Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pandemic), Emergency Departments (EDs) took the lead in the early stages of the medical response to the pandemic, becoming the first port of call for suspected cases, all the while maintaining their regular activity. In this letter to the editor, we review the work done by Emergency Medicine (EM) professionals, who in the hour of need delivered care to those affected regardless of the exposure risks, and by doing so acted as buffers, giving time for the rest of the healthcare system to prepare.

In Switzerland, EM has struggled to earn full recognition as a specialty and EPs have consequently regularly been excluded from healthcare policy and funding discussions. However, as the number of cases grew in the first couple of weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, this dynamic changed. The …

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  • Contributors EH has drafted and finalised the original work. AE has reviewed and helped with improvements.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.