Emergency medicine pioneer receives Health Research Foundation Medal of Honour
When Dr. Ian Stiell first trained as an emergency physician, treatment decisions were based more on tradition than on evidence. Dr. Stiell wanted to change this, so he embarked on a research career that has transformed emergency medicine not only in Canada, but around the world. His remarkable achievements were recently recognized with the Health Research Foundation Medal of Honour.
Dr. Stiell is known around the world for his clinical decision rules for diagnosing ankle, knee, spine and head injuries. These rules have helped reduce unnecessary medical imaging, while also improving patient care and reducing wait times. They are now available in the popular Ottawa Rules app, available in the App Store and on Google Play.
Dr. Stiell and his colleagues have also developed risk scales for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart failure. These scales help doctors decide which patients should be admitted to the hospital, and which can safely be sent home.
Working with first responders, Dr. Stiell also helped establish the benefits of bystander CPR for cardiac arrest.
“As a young emergency physician, I was simply taught to do what the doctors before me did,” said Dr. Stiell. “There was very little evidence to guide treatment decisions. Now, research is embedded in everything we do at the University of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital, and patients both here and around the world are benefitting.”
Dr. Stiell is a distinguished professor at the University of Ottawa and leads the Emergency Medicine Research Group at The Ottawa Hospital.