A group of volunteers, including physicians and EMS personnel, work hard to bring hospital-level medical care to patients in any remote location.
It’s been decades since doctors made house calls. Even with the uptick in telemedicine during the pandemic, the physical gap between doctor and patient is often wide. Suppose you were stranded in the wilderness, injured and miles from the nearest emergency room?
A group of volunteers, including physicians and EMS personnel, is bridging that gap in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Maryland and Mid-Atlantic Wilderness Rescue Squad/Austere Medical Professionals (AMP) work hard to bring hospital-level medical care to patients in remote locations. Not only does the group’s core leadership of nine jump into action when an emergency call comes in, but they also coordinate safety and provide medical support for events they dub ‘mass gatherings.’ These could include group hikes, mountain bike races, equestrian events or park clean up days.
The calls for AMP’s help have become more diverse since its creation in 2019 and the group found they needed more equipment and medical supplies. They have handled everything from blisters and shock, to bleeding and fractures. This year, a $5,000 Emergency Responders Grant from BGE will allow the group to purchase radios for better field communication and medical supplies for bleeding and hemorrhaging.
“There are volunteer search and rescue units all over the country, but only a few like ours,” said Michael Millin, MD, AMP’s president and medical director, whose day job is in the department of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “We are medically focused and fully integrated into the EMS system. Our program was approved by the Maryland EMS board, so we are accountable and can learn, teach and correct for future events. We believe excellent medical care should be available anywhere.”
AMP has a solid track record from 20 events in two states, including a missing person search in West Virginia. During COVID, the group focused on recruiting and virtual training. Looking ahead, the team’s leadership hopes to grow the Austere Medical Professionals. They continue to fundraise and ramp up their volunteer base. Soon, they hope to buy a command transport trailer that can serve as basecamp and store supplies.