The lifesaving potential of specialized on-scene medical support for urban tactical operations

Jeffery C Metzger, Alexander Eastman, Fernando L Benitez, Paul E Pepe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Since the 1980s, the specialized field of tactical medicine has evolved with growing support from numerous law-enforcement and medical organizations. On-scene backup from tactical emergency medical support (TEMS) providers has not only permitted more immediate advanced medical aid to injured officers, victims, bystanders, and suspects, but also allows for rapid after-incident medical screening or minor treatments that can obviate an unnecessary transport to an emergency department. The purpose of this report is to document one very explicit benefit of TEMS deployment, namely, a situation in which a police officer's life was saved by the routine on-scene presence of specialized TEMS physicians. In this specific case, a police officer was shot in the anterior neck during a law-enforcement operation and became moribund with massive hemorrhage and compromised airway. Two TEMS physicians, who had been integrated into the tactical law-enforcement team, were on scene, controlled the hemorrhage, and provided a surgical airway. By the time of arrival at the hospital, the patient had begun purposeful movements and, within 12 hours, was alert and oriented. Considering the rapid decline in the patient's condition, it was later deemed by quality assurance reviewers that the on-scene presence of these TEMS providers was lifesaving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-531
Number of pages4
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 17 2009


  • Law enforcement
  • Police
  • Prehospital emergency care
  • TEMS
  • Tactical emergency medical support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency

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