by Veer Vithalani, MD, MAEMSA System Medical Director
Note from the editor:
Dr. Vithalani is an active member of the TCMS Board of Advisors. As he officially moves into the role of our local EMS Medical Director, TCMS wanted to provide him the opportunity to speak directly with members about his background and goals for our EMS System.
“After successfully completing an EM residency, I plan to undertake an EMS fellowship and hope to one day serve as a Medical Director for an ambulance company while working in an academic emergency department.”
These words concluded my personal statement as I applied to residency programs in 2010. One of the reasons I was so excited when I matched into the inaugural class at the JPS Health Network in Fort Worth was the opportunity to develop the program’s experience with a world-renowned EMS system, MedStar.
From early in my residency, I began learning the basics of EMS medical direction under the mentorship of Dr. Jeff Beeson. He would stress the importance of working collaboratively with the local medical community and would take me with him to the monthly board meetings of the Tarrant County Medical Society (TCMS). The TCMS played a fundamental role in the creation of the EMS system in Fort Worth, and through its designated positions on the Emergency Physicians Advisory Board, has been influential in shaping the structure of the EMS system through numerous challenges. Drs. Gary Floyd and Steve Martin have served since the early days of the Emergency Physicians Advisory Board (EPAB) and have been a tremendous source of counsel and guidance for my predecessors and me.
I was able to join the Office of the Medical Director (OMD), first as an EMS Fellow, then Associate Medical Director, and finally Interim Medical Director. Throughout this time, I’ve witnessed incredible growth in this system. This progress is evident in every aspect: tighter integration between EMS and first responders; increased standardization of credentialing and quality assurance; closer working relationships between the OMD and agency leaders; and increased resource sharing, such as unified dispatch centers, dispatch integration, and shared capital. All of these actions keep us centered on patient-focused goals. Patients call 911 in their time of need, and the system is there for them, regardless of race, gender, or creed.
I am honored to accept the position of Medical Director for the Metropolitan Area EMS Authority (MAEMSA) system. My goal moving forward is simple; we will continue to guide our commitment to clinical excellence throughout this system. Accomplishing this mission takes continued passion and dedication from all involved—from front-line field providers, dispatchers, support services, educators, administrators, Chiefs, City leaders, OMD, and beyond. My philosophy is that this is our practice of medicine, and we are all in it together. We will help our patients together, make mistakes together, learn together, and grow together.
Moreover, in the difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic, my goal remains the same. The OMD is responsible for the daily management of the Tarrant Medical Operations Center, functioning as the coordinating body for mitigation of medical and healthcare effects of disasters. With active participation from all key stakeholders, from hospital leaders to local physicians, public health officials to emergency managers, and elected officials to public safety, everyone is doing their part to mount a coordinated and consistent response for the safety and well-being of our community.
I would not have reached this position without my mentors and predecessors, Drs. Jeff Beeson, Steven Q. Davis, and Neal Richmond; leaders from JPS and IES, Drs. Robinson, Zenarosa, and Kirk, who brought me to Fort Worth and trained me in Emergency Medicine, and my wife and kids, to whom I owe all of my life’s successes; to all, a heartfelt thanks.
I do not take lightly the trust and responsibility placed in me by the MAEMSA Board, First Responder Advisory Board, and EPAB. I hope to live up to the high expectations we have all set. This system has long been a shining star in the world of EMS; I look forward to playing my part to continue that into the years to come.