About Us

Welcome to Brave African Discussions in Emergency Medicine #badEM. We are a group of long time friends that all support a passion for emergency medicine and FOAMed. The following will give you insight into who we are and what we are about, we hope you enjoy our blog.

Kirsten Kingma

Hey, I’m @SurferKirst, I super keen and enthusiastic FOAMed lover. I currently attend the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town where I am busy with medical school. Prior to this I completed a National Diploma in Emergency Medical Care (Advanced Life Support Paramedic), and subsequently enrolled with the South African National Defence Force where I worked as an operational paramedic. I currently do part time work for the provincial aeromedical service and the government ambulance service where we partake in giving pre-hospital students practical exposure. I love my work and have been involved with volunteer organisations since I started, I believe that any field that you are willing to volunteer in is a good career choice.

My interests outside of medicine include anything involving extreme sport, adventure and new experiences. This includes big wave surfing, trail running, paragliding, mountain biking, snow boarding, fast responses, very sick patients, a good twitter debate or simply put any learning experience that catches my fancy. After all a heathy body means a healthy mind.

My aim for the blog is to add a touch of crazy and adventure to the blog, getting fellow team mates amped and finding niche topics to post about. I hope that we can become a platform to showcase the unique ideas our brothers and sisters have to share.

Jo Park-Ross

I worked my first ambulance shift aged seventeen years old, and I have never looked back. After finishing my undergraduate studies, I joined the provincial emergency medical services, working between the urban and rural ambulance and aeromedical services. After two and a half years, I moved into a full time flight paramedic position with a non-profit organization servicing predominately state patients with rotor and fixed wing aircrafts. The provincial ambulance service is an amazing opportunity to learn, and a paramedic could not ask for better patient exposure or find a better family in uniform.

Where I work now we service the province (and beyond) with a fixed wing aircraft, aiding the over-stretched rural ambulance services with the movement of patients, ranging from patients being transferred for appointments to critically ill and injured intensive care patients in desperate need of the specialist care only offered in the tertiary urban hospitals. The rotor wing aircraft is utilised for rescues (both mountain and sea), inter-facility transfers from rural hospitals and primary responses, such as motor vehicle accidents. I learn everyday: the very best part of my job is being challenged mentally, physically and academically.

When not at work, I am either studying ( I am currently a Masters student) or riding my horse up and down Noordhoek beach. I have chronic wander-lust, and am always five seconds away from booking a flight to anywhere.

I hope this blog gives a voice to healthcare workers who do great work in difficult circumstances, which is often a thankless and draining job, and that we are able to inspire you.

Willem Stassen

I’m Willem.  Ambitious, passionate and slightly dysfunctional. I started my career in EM when I enrolled for my Bachelor in Emergency Medical Care at the University of Johannesburg. I’ve been working as an Emergency Care Practitioner (degree paramedic) ever since; first starting in general road emergencies, then moving into full-time critical care retrieval and now I’m a retrieval paramedic on HEMS and air ambulance operations in the northern parts of South Africa. I often do repatriations from the rest of Africa.

My academic career pretty much started the moment I first opened a medical textbook – I fell in love with studying. After finishing my Honors, I immediately enrolled for my Masters in Clinical Emergency Medicine which I obtained in 2013. Thereafter I started planning my PhD which I am currently enrolled for as a dual degree programme between Stellenbosch University in Cape Town and Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. I also hold international certifications in Flight Medicine and Critical Care Transport. I have both local and international publications and have supervised a number of research projects in PHEM.

When I’m not doing research or seeing patients you will probably find me reading or dining. Perhaps even drinking wine. To offset the nerdiness (and the eating) I am an avid runner and gym enthusiast.

Often, we unsuccessfully attempt to apply developed world solutions in the resource-limited setting. It just does not work. My aim for this blog is to encourage you to share your ideas, solutions and research innovations so that we may collaborate in offering African solutions to African problems.

Katya Evans

Hi! I am @kat__evans or @TOMP_SA . I am currently a Specialist Emergency Physician in Cape Town at Mitchells Plain Hospital also working with the Joint Division of Emergency Medicine University of Cape Town / Stellenbosch University.  I was born in Mombasa, Kenya but grew up in Durban, South Africa. My background prior to medicine includes working in KZN as an Intermediate Life Support EMS practitioner as well as working for the Eye Bank as a cornea procurement technician. I became passionate about EM during my time in EMS, and started medical school with the aim of a long term career in African EM. I moved to Cape Town for a fantastic internship and community service at the busy G.F. Jooste Hospital in Manenberg where my enthusiasm for EM grew under the guidance of Emergency Physicians working at the facility. As a side project I am the Project Leader for a free South African smartphone app called EM Guidance which was developed by us in 2013 through the organisation www.openmedicineproject.org

I have a keen interest in FOAMed, toxicology, prehospital care, quality improvement, psychiatric emergencies, paed EM, mHealth, ultrasound, collaboration between specialities, patient flow and innovative “on the floor” solutions to african EM problems.
I am enthusiastic about starting #badEM to help bring together practitioners from all spheres of emergency medicine to have brave discussions and share knowledge in Africa! My focus in #badEM is clinical based on both case studies and collaboration with other EM and non-EM gurus in Africa.

Craig Wylie

Hey, I am @craigwylie. I am currently employed by a private out of hospital emergency medical service in South Africa as the national patient safety manager. I was born in Cape Town, South Africa and after moving around the country during my education (military child) I finally managed to settle down in Cape Town again. I started my interest in Emergency Medicine at the tender age of 7 when I attended an annual St Johns Ambulance Brigade parade. For obvious reasons there are a minimum age that one can complete first aid levels, I was always the youngest in the class (sometimes very illegally). I completed my basic ambulance assistant course whilst still at school, and joined the national diploma in Emergency Medical Care immediately after school. After completing my undergraduate at the then Durban University of Technology I started my career in EMS. During this time I completed my Bachelors in Emergency Medical Care and several other short courses. I am currently enrolled at the University of Cape Town, hoping to complete my Masters soon.

I have a keen interest in the WHY…… Being employed as a patient safety manager, has after many years, redirected my interest from the fast paced life of a primarily adrenaline pumped paramedic, to someone with a real interest in improving the way we deliver care safely. I also have a keen interest in tactical and disaster medicine.

My vision for #badEM is that it will become a platform for Low-Middle income countries (Africa and alike) to share what works in a specific environment. My focus in #badEM will be systems-related looking at improving patient and practitioner safety.

Andrew Redfern

Hi, I’m Andrew or @Paedcapetown. I’m a paediatrician currently working in Tygerberg Children’s Hospital Paediatric Emergency department in Cape Town, the tertiary paediatric referral centre for half of the Western Cape’s children (as well as many primary care referrals & walk-ins!). I grew up and went to university in Cape Town, and then specialised in Paediatrics both in the UK and Cape Town (Red Cross Children’s Hospital). Before I discovered my love of PEM (Paediatric Emergency) I sub-specialised in Paediatric Neurodevelopment (!!!) and still moonlight therein a bit.

I have always loved teaching and learning. Being in an academic hospital has fuelled my interest in medical education. As a recent arrival on the FOAMed scene, I love thinking about how to integrate technology/social media to improve/direct the future of medical education, especially to those in resource constrained environments. Other things that keep me awake at night are developing PEM in SA/Africa, simulation training, leadership, advocacy, quality improvement and what my PHD topic should be.

I’m truly blessed to have an amazing wife and 4 amazing young boys, which keeps me young, but fairly busy. I charge my battery by devouring leadership & sermon podcasts, running marathons, hiking, mountain biking and playing soccer/hockey/cricket/tennis with my boys.

I’m joining badEM because I’d love to share my experience and learnings as a person working in Paediatric emergency, as well as a fellow learner and teacher in the South African public health and higher education systems.  My simple hope/mission would be that the kids in Africa get better care, and the docs looking after them enjoy their jobs more.

Victoria Stephen

Hi, I’m Tori, (@EMcardiac) and I am a Specialist Emergency Physician working in Johannesburg, South Africa.

I clearly remember the day that I realised that Emergency medicine was for me: I was an intern working at a small district hospital in Johannesburg in the “Casualty” as it was called back then. It was meant to be a Family Medicine rotation, but turned out to be an initiation into South African Emergency Medicine instead. That day I treated a patient with pneumonia,dripped a dehydrated child, resuscitated a woman bleeding from a miscarriage and then intubated a man with a severe head injury. The variety, the uncertainty of who your next patient would be, working out a diagnosis and seeing a patient rapidly improve was immensely gratifying. I did my internship at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, better known as Bara, which was a two year rollercoaster. I loved Bara so much that I ended up doing my year of community service there, working in trauma and general surgery. During that year, during a brief psychotic episode probably induced by sleep deprivation and endless working hours, I considered a career in surgery. I subsequently returned to my senses, working in level 1 trauma Emergency departments in Private hospitals in Johannesburg the following year. It was there that I learnt and fell in love with point of care ultrasound, being very fortunate to be taught by the guru of ED echo, Professor Mike Wells. Three years later I enrolled in the programme for Emergency medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand, obtaining the Fellowship in EM (FCEM(SA)) in 2016.

My specific interests in Emergency medicine include Emergency Cardiology, Neurologic emergencies, as well as a smattering of trauma, toxicology and medical education. I love teaching on the floor and inspiring unsuspecting junior doctors to fall in love with Emergency medicine as much as I do. I am also crazy about point of care ultrasound and will probably ultrasound you if you are stationary for too long. 🙂 My focus in BadEM will be centred around point of care ultrasound and how it can assist in improve diagnosis and management in EM. I will also contribute clinical cases to highlight the fascinating yet challenging cases we see in LMICs and how to best manage our patients with our limited resources.

My time off is spent travelling locally in beautiful South Africa and exploring the world. I spend far too much time on Twitter, feeding my #FOAMed addiction. I also enjoy reading, going for a run, good restaurants and finally being Mum to a gorgeous yet manipulative Basset Hound called Rufus.