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 content.

Kirsten Thomas

Kirsten Thomas is a South African doctor specialising in anaesthesiology in Cape Town. She has a diploma in primary emergency medical care as well as a diploma in anaesthesia. Prior to studying medicine she completed a national diploma in emergency medical care and worked part time in both the HEMS and prehospital environment. She has a passion for teaching and is involved in teaching anaesthesia to undergraduates, forms part of the ATLS faculty and involved with ultrasound courses. Additional interests include wilderness medicine, airway management and resuscitation of the critically ill.

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

Willem Stassen is an associate professor of emergency medicine, and an emergency care practitioner primarily involved in critical care retrieval via ground, helicopter or fixed wing modes of transport. He holds a Masters degree in Emergency Medicine from the University of Cape Town, South Africa and a PhD from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. Willem also holds a PGDip in Applied Ethics. Willem previously held certification as a critical care and flight paramedic with the International Board of Specialised Certification. His main research interests are telephonic disease prediction and triage, prehospital emergency care networks and critical care retrieval and transport. Currently Willem is the programme coordinator of the PhD in Emergency Medicine at the University of Cape Town.

Katya Evans

Kat Evans is a Specialist Emergency Physician in South Africa at Mitchells Plain Hospital & Heideveld Hospital and faculty at the University of Cape Town. Born in Kenya, grew up in South Africa & prior to becoming a doctor had a background in prehospital care. She spends her time looking for solutions to the EM challenges in both adults and paediatrics, caused by a quadruple burden of disease, reflecting the evolving landscape of the city (substance abuse, obesity/metabolic, HIV/TB & trauma/tox). She also has a special interest in palliative medicine in the emergency care setting.

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.

Dan Still

I’m Dan, and I’m currently a Medical Officer at Victoria Hospital Emergency Department in Cape Town. I really love emergency medicine and the potential positive impact it can have on patients and hospitals when done properly, and my goal is to spread old and new good ideas to help enable this to be done more often and in more places.

Outside of work I enjoy running, jolling and reading (mostly non medical things) and I would describe myself as a generally curious person about anything that I find interesting.