Ketamine use in prehospital settings should remain the purview of EMS physicians

September 1, 2020

The National Association of EMS Physicians® firmly believes that the medical direction and supervision of the art and science of prehospital medicine is best practiced by subspecialists in EMS medicine. The use of ketamine, or any other pharmaceutical agent, by prehospital personnel is under the medical authority, supervision, and quality assurance and continuous quality improvement programs of a physician.

A recent joint statement made last week by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), along with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s announcement to review the state’s ketamine waiver program, are causing serious concern among many of NAEMSP’s members.

“EMS providers are skilled professionals following the medical protocols set forth by their physician medical director,” said NAEMSP® President David K. Tan, MD, EMT-T, FAAEM, FAEMS. “These protocols and standing orders of an EMS medical director are, by definition, used for patients. The suggestion that ketamine is routinely being used for ‘non-medical’ purposes is dangerously misleading.”  

NAEMSP® has offered their expertise to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment task force.

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