Medical School for Everyone: Emergency Medicine

Course No. 1991
Professor Roy Benaroch, M.D.
Emory University
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Course No. 1991
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What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Understand how emergency doctors prioritize a waiting room full of sick or wounded patients.
  • numbers Get an inside look at how to handle dangerous situations, including a violent patient or a highly infectious disease.
  • numbers Learn how doctors treat bites and wounds without accidentally injecting more venom into the body.
  • numbers Discover the clues to distinguish between fevers from a viral infection and those signifying something more serious.
  • numbers Go back in time to the American Civil War for a glimpse at how military doctors treated patients in the 1800s.

Course Overview

You’re a doctor 11 hours into your shift, and you’ve just walked into a waiting area packed with patients. There’s an elderly man complaining of mild chest pain, a teenage girl whose arms are swollen with bee stings, and an ambulance that is bringing in two unresponsive kids from a car crash. What do you do next?

Welcome to a typical day on the job for doctors in emergency departments: the most intense department in any hospital, and home to the kind of split-second decision making, high-stress troubleshooting, and rapid medical detective work that can make the difference between a patient’s life and death.

Unlike scheduled doctor appointments, no one actually plans to end up in an emergency room. Few of us think about the nature of emergency medicine: the grueling training medical students endure; the insights into ailments, injuries, and illnesses doctors must always keep in the back of their minds; the preternatural skills required to ferret out clues a patient might have overlooked (or might not want to share).

By following emergency doctors as they deal with patients and make accurate diagnoses, you can:

  • Get the same on-the-ground, case-by-case learning experience that medical students get when going through their emergency department rotations.
  • Learn how medical emergencies ranging from allergic reactions to concussions to heart attacks are diagnosed and treated.
  • Be better able to communicate with doctors and nurses in the unfortunate event that you, or a family member or friend, ends up in the emergency department.
  • Learn basic preventive health measures that could keep you out of an emergency room yourself.

With Medical School for Everyone: Emergency Medicine, The Great Courses gives you the chance to experience for yourself the high-stakes drama, scientific detective work, and medical insights of life in an everyday emergency department. Presented by board-certified physician and popular educator Dr. Roy Benaroch of Emory University’s School of Medicine, these 24 lectures are a thrilling introduction to emergency medicine and the emergency department educational experiences of medical students around the world. As you shadow Dr. Benaroch on his shifts, and sometimes even venture off-site, you’ll encounter patients coming in with a variety of symptoms and complaints—some of which are easily diagnosed and treated, and some of which are more life-threatening than they first appear. By the end of this 24-lecture rotation, you’ll have a stronger knowledge of, and greater respect for, emergency medicine and the brave doctors who practice it.

Discover How Emergency Doctors Work

Every lecture of Medical School for Everyone: Emergency Medicine keeps you on your toes and brings you up close and personal with the common and uncommon medical emergencies that emergency doctors encounter throughout their careers. At the heart of each emergency case are powerful examples of:

  • how emergency doctors think on their feet;
  • how emergency doctors determine what’s really wrong with a patient;
  • how emergency doctors rule in, or out, certain diagnoses; and
  • how emergency doctors counsel patients and families on improving health.

Emergency medicine, according to Dr. Benaroch, is about helping patients and making difficult decisions with information that is often insufficient or equivocal. These lectures invite you to peer over his shoulder as he meets with patients:

  • A schoolteacher named Claire has recurring bouts of abdominal pain that reveal how emergency doctors use the “OLD CAAAR” mnemonic device to remember the specific questions that need to be asked every time they evaluate someone complaining of generalized pain.
  • Individuals of various ages illustrate symptoms of different chest pain complaints, including myocardial infarctions (the medical term for a heart attack), myocarditis (a disease of the heart muscle), and pneumothorax (when air appears between the lung and the chest wall).
  • A three-week-old child helps you understand how emergency doctors risk-stratify fevers in newborns, where every fever (even a brief one) could be the sign of a serious infection that a newborn cannot easily fight off.
  • Mrs. Donahue, an elderly woman with dementia, whose mysterious case highlights a maxim that Dr. Benaroch lives by: If you still don’t know what’s going on with a patient after taking their history, investigate the medications (many of which often have adverse side effects or negative interactions).

Experience Everyday Life in an Emergency Department

Dr. Benaroch’s lectures are filled with fascinating insights into the experiences of emergency department doctors. These insights will broaden your understanding of what it takes to save a human life, break down preconceived notions about how emergency medicine works, and strengthen your appreciation for what it takes to perform one of the most stressful jobs on the planet.

Some of the fascinating revelations that are uncovered include:

  • You don’t want to be someone who’s rushed through an emergency department without having to wait. The only way to get to the “front of the line” during triage is to be the sickest patient in the department—and to make sure no one sicker than you shows up while you’re being evaluated. Been waiting for hours to see a doctor? It’s a great sign you’re not in mortal danger.
  • Any time an emergency doctor encounters an unresponsive patient, the first thing he or she does is perform a rapid scan of the “ABCs”: assess the patient’s airway (and open it up if it’s closed), assess the patient’s breathing (and give rescue breaths if there’s no breathing), and check the patient’s blood circulation (and give chest compressions if there’s no heartbeat).
  • Snake bites, contrary to popular belief, should not be treated with the “cut and suck” method. By cutting up the wound and trying to suck out the poison, you’ll only increase tissue damage and further contaminate the wound. A better form of treatment is rinsing the snake bite under running water for several minutes.

Displaying masterful storytelling prowess, detailed medical knowledge, and personal experiences as a practicing physician, Dr. Benaroch makes these lectures a unique way for you to experience life in an emergency department—without having to visit one yourself. You’ll feel like you’ve donned the white coat and stepped into the well-worn shoes of an emergency doctor at the top of his or her game.

Whether he’s discussing how doctors treat patients with highly infectious diseases, how they determine when patients are suffering from a hidden trauma (like an eating disorder), or how they inform family members in the event of a patient’s death, Dr. Benaroch treats these and many other real-world scenarios with candor. Medical School for Everyone: Emergency Medicine reveals the everyday adventure, mystery, and fascination of emergency medicine, showing you why it’s one of the most exciting and rewarding branches of medicine to work in.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 29 minutes each
  • 1
    Triage in Emergency Medicine
    Start the course learning about the first critical step of emergency care: triage. When faced with a waiting room full of patients, how does a capable emergency department doctor decide whom to treat first? What happens when a patient's condition changes? Or when more patients show up? x
  • 2
    Emergency Medicine Means Thinking Fast
    Dr. Benaroch takes you along with an ambulance crew to give you a three-dimensional understanding of emergency care as experienced by first responders. Topics covered in this lecture include the ABCs of a rapid scan, appropriate bystander response, and the rule of 9" for estimating burn size." x
  • 3
    Emergency Medicine Means Thinking Again
    Welcome to the night shift at an emergency department, where anything can happen. Through the patient cases in this lecture, you'll get a deeper understanding of how emergency doctors think twice about a young man having a heart attack, a college student who is vomiting, and an elderly man who is having trouble walking. x
  • 4
    The Story Is the Diagnosis
    Discover how emergency doctors use OLD CAAAR: a simple mnemonic to accurately - and quickly - pinpoint the location and characteristics of a patient's pains. Also, learn what happens when a doctor has to think fast and doesn't have the time to ask each of the OLD CAAAR questions. x
  • 5
    Hidden Clues in the Emergency Department
    Take a closer look at three emergency department cases - a urinary tract infection, a broken leg, and a bellyache - with a twist. How were these diagnoses determined? Not through expensive tests or advanced imaging, but through paying attention to the story, even when it isn't truthful. x
  • 6
    Treat the Patient, Treat the Family
    According to Dr. Benaroch, to best treat a patient, you sometimes have to treat the patient's family. See this principle in action through a 16-year-old complaining of chronic bronchitis and a 60-year-old found unresponsive with low blood sugar - both of whom have families to help support a doctor's efforts to diagnose and heal. x
  • 7
    Chest Pain
    This lecture focuses on patients with chest pain, which might be either a sign of a mild illness or an actual heart attack. Why is it so difficult to identify every serious cause of chest pain? What questions should doctors - and patients - ask? What's the difference between myocarditis, pneumothorax, and other medically serious cases? x
  • 8
    Treat the Cause, Not the Symptom
    Definitive emergency care requires, first and foremost, a diagnosis. Visit a community emergency department that shares space with an urgent care center, and learn how patients like a 2-year-old with a persistent cough and a 49-year-old with a stuffy nose illustrate the importance of treating the cause - not the symptoms. x
  • 9
    Who Needs the Emergency Department?
    Not all emergency department patients need to be there. In this lecture, meet several pairs of patients - each with the same symptoms, but only one of whom would be best served in the emergency department. Then, get some general tips for you to consider the next time you're contemplating going to the emergency department. x
  • 10
    Altered Mental Status
    How do you handle patients in altered mental states, suffering from unusual thoughts and behaviors? How do you figure out their story and make an accurate diagnosis? Discover how, in cases like these, doctors rely more than ever on signs and clues from a patient's family and friends. x
  • 11
    Simple Symptoms, Serious Illness
    Discover why sometimes a quick patient history isn't enough to help diagnose a problem. In addition to walking you through patient cases, Dr. Benaroch offers insights into fascinating tools that help doctors uncover serious illnesses hidden behind basic symptoms, including complete blood count tests and air contrast enemas. x
  • 12
    In an Emergency, Protect Yourself First
    Doctors are commanded to do no harm to their patients. What's equally important is protecting themselves in those rare instances where a patient may do them harm. Get an inside look at how emergency doctors handle dangerous situations, including a patient acting violently and a patient suffering from a highly infectious disease. x
  • 13
    Treating Insect and Animal Bites
    Meet several emergency patients who've been bitten by various creatures, from snakes and spiders to ticks and raccoons. Along the way, you'll learn how doctors treat allergic reactions to bites, how they treat wounds without accidentally injecting more venom into the body, and more. x
  • 14
    The Missing Piece in an Emergency Diagnosis
    Emergency department patients often aren't ready to trust the doctors attending them, since they have just met. In this lecture, learn how doctors work with patients who aren't completely forthcoming to build trust and coax out embarrassing - or seemingly irrelevant - details to arrive at the right diagnosis and get them the treatment they need. x
  • 15
    Healthy Paranoia in Emergency Medicine
    Emergency department doctors should always assume every patient has a life-threatening illness - even though only 10% to 20% actually do. How do doctors manage this healthy "paranoia"? And how do they prepare themselves and their patients for the worst outcome while planning for the best? x
  • 16
    Fever: Friend or Foe
    Are fevers your friend or your foe? In this lecture, learn the best clues to help distinguish between fevers that are signs of a viral infection and those that herald something much more serious. Then, learn some of the common triggers of fevers, as well as doctor-recommended treatments. x
  • 17
    Always Treat Pain
    Pain is a frequent chief complaint in emergency departments. This lecture brings you up close with patients suffering from acute and chronic pain, including the common complaint of back pain. These cases help you better understand everything from pain medications - and the dangers of overuse - to how pain affects the way the brain works. x
  • 18
    An Ounce of Prevention
    No one wants to go to an emergency department. While you can never protect yourself 100%, there are ways to help avoid having to make a trip there. Here, learn about the importance of cancer screenings, vaccinations, and taking medication. A little prevention, it turns out, makes a big difference. x
  • 19
    The Big Picture in Emergency Medicine
    A fever that's actually a sign of a very dramatic, potentially deadly disease. Abdominal pain that's not caused by illness or injury. Dr. Benaroch uses these and other eye-opening cases as a window into how doctors arrive at the big picture when a patient's chief complaints fail to reveal the truth. x
  • 20
    Is Exercise Good for Your Health?
    This lecture's cases illustrate how sports-related injuries are treated in emergency departments. You'll encounter a softball player suffering from a concussion, a young boy's dangerous eye injury from a haphazard game of lawn darts, a teen rescued from a near-drowning event, and a golfer's stubborn poison ivy rash. x
  • 21
    Stay Safe in the Emergency Department
    Gain insights into tips and practices that emergency department doctors and patients should know to ensure their safety. Topics include the risks of conscious sedation (which is less safe than general anesthesia), the importance of knowing your allergies, and the dangers involved in handing off a patient to another provider. x
  • 22
    Emergency Medicine for Travelers
    Emergency department doctors have to stay especially vigilant when dealing with patients who have traveled abroad - especially in the developing world. Find out how they handle uncommon diseases and infections transmitted by mosquitoes, sexual activity, and more. Then, visit a ski clinic for a peek at some other travel-related emergencies. x
  • 23
    Emergency Medicine Lessons from the Past
    What was emergency medicine like in the 1800s? Go back in time to the American Civil War for a glimpse at how military doctors and surgeons treated wounds and combatted infection. Compare these injuries and treatments to those of the Boston Marathon bombing. Also, contrast the medical treatment given to President Garfield after he was shot with the treatment Reagan received after his attempted assassination. x
  • 24
    Lessons from the Emergency Department
    It's time for your last shift in the emergency department. In this closing lecture, Dr. Benaroch uses several case studies to help you review the big-picture lessons of good emergency care you've learned throughout the course - lessons that have opened your eyes to the excitement and challenges of emergency medicine and that can help you take better care of yourself and your loved ones. x

Lecture Titles

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 24 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
Instant Audio Includes:
  • Download 24 audio lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 208-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 208-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Suggested readings
  • Questions to consider

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Your professor

Roy Benaroch

About Your Professor

Roy Benaroch, M.D.
Emory University
Dr. Roy Benaroch is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine. He earned his B.S. in Engineering at Tulane University, followed by his M.D. at Emory University. He completed his residency through Emory University’s affiliated hospitals in 1997, serving as chief resident and instructor of pediatrics in 1998. Board certified in general pediatrics in 1997, Dr. Benaroch practices...
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Medical School for Everyone: Emergency Medicine is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 80.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Light, fun, fast paced and educational This takes a unique approach to teaching. It does NOT proceed by topics such as "Heart Attacks", "Penetrating Wounds"... Rather, he tries to invite you in to the actual moment to moment experience as perceived by the doctor. You'll go room to room getting briefed on a patient's situation. You will triage and prioritize cases for urgency. You will make decisions on treatment, testing and management. It is well done and I am impressed that he pulls it off without getting lost in the weeds. You really cant help but learn and enjoy the approach. I took the audio version of the course and didn't feel that I was missing out. I do have some background in the topic and at times wondered if terminology may be a stumbling block for others. Judging by the other reviews, this does not seem to be the case.
Date published: 2020-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very engaging and helpful The lectures were entertaining and helpful for anyone who may need to visit an emergency room -- which is all of us. A wide range of topics and examples are provided and the presentation makes you feel like you are in an ER in real time.
Date published: 2020-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emergency Medicine for Everyone The Dr., who is the presenter, gives an informative insider's look into the chaotic experience of emergency medicine. He even, at times, adds a bit of humor into personal interactions between the dr. and patient. I feel more confident about my personal entrance into the emergency arena, if ever needed.
Date published: 2020-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! - For All! This is a superb course in almost every respect. It is rare for me to recommend a course for every sentient human being, but this is one of them, for a number of reasons. First, the subject matter is inherently of interest to all of us. I happen to find it fascinating in itself, but whether this is true for you or not, there is a good possibility that we will be seeking care in an Emergency Department (ED) at one or more times in our lives, or that we will be there with an ill or injured loved one, with a serious or life-threatening complaint. It would be both helpful and somewhat stress-reducing to have a good idea of how the ED functions and what to expect, as well as when - and when not - to go. (By the way, I was brought up calling the ED an 'ER', but that's apparently no longer politically correct. A 'department' is thought to be more respectable than a 'room'.) In addition, a brief but broad and helpful review of essential first aid, and of how to respond if you find yourself in an emergency situation, is scattered throughout the course. (Suggestion: Take a good first aid course, one which includes learning how to use an AED, or automated external defibrillator.) Finally, again in bits in each lesson, a basic education in normal body functioning, normal anatomy and physiology, is provided, as well as advice regarding how to recognize and respond to important malfunctions. Professor/Doctor Benaroch is superb. His organization is outstanding, especially considering how well he takes us back and forth through the three or four patients being discussed at any one time. And despite treating a highly specialized subject for a general audience, he is crystal clear, either using 'ordinary' language or translating medical jargon. He speaks in a pleasant and conversational - if somewhat rapid - tone, and I had no trouble staying focused. I was also very pleased at his stress on the need to establish trust between doctor and patient, and his pointing out the difficulty of doing this on a first meeting in an emergency situation. Be aware this is a very information-dense course; you will want to be paying attention. My only concern applies not just to this course, but to medicine in general. (I'm a physician.) Professor Benaroch, like almost all doctors, treats consideration of what to ask, what to examine, what to test, and what to consider as diagnoses, as information that should just pop into a good doctor's head, after the universally taught ABCs (airway, breathing, circulation) have been considered. Yes, training generally ensures that we take the right path, but as many of the cases discussed here make clear, it is quite possible to not think of the right thing at the right time. How would you feel if a pilot or airline mechanic just played it by ear when deciding if a plane was ready to take off, instead of using a focused and complete checklist? I have never understood why health care providers do not take the same approach, and I wish our professor had discussed this, or provided examples of how a regimented procedure could help avoid misdiagnoses. The Course Guidebook is very well done. And I highly recommend the video; in fact, so much of the course is visually transmitted that I would strongly suggest not taking the audio - you would miss too much. So - This course has my highest recommendation, absolutely for everyone. Even if is not an area in which you have a prior interest, it is very worth taking for other reasons. And I strongly suspect that, regardless of your prior attitude, you will truly enjoy it.
Date published: 2020-06-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great for medical students before iinternship Good survey of medical emergencies ,better for paramedics and young medical students
Date published: 2020-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Teaching Company course! I own over 200 TC courses. This one is excellent. It is timely, informative, and very interesting. I plan on giving it to my adult children.
Date published: 2020-04-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I have enjoyed dozens of Great Courses during the past years and continue to do so. Unfortunately, this is the first course that I cannot recommend. It is boring, which could be tolerable if it provided information useful to someone who encounters an emergency before getting to the ER. Regretfully, i cannot recommend this course.
Date published: 2020-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating. Really enjoyable lecture series. I learned so much - about what was going on in the ER wh I dealt with my elderly parents' visits and now what to expect as a senior myself, not to mention as a spouse. Great lecturer. I was riveted much of the time.
Date published: 2020-03-09
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