brian zink

A new documentary about the evolution of emergency medicine airs tonight (MONDAY) on Rhode Island public television. The documentary was produced by a Rhode Island-born ER doctor and inspired by Rhode Island Hospital’s emergency medicine chief.

Before the 1970s, there was no 911. No ambulance service like we know today. Emergency medicine, says Dr. Mark Brady, wasn’t even a specialty until 1979.

Rhode Island Hospital and the entire Lifespan network have announced new guidelines for prescribing painkillers in their emergency rooms. ER doctors are trying to address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and addiction.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Rhode Island’s hospital emergency rooms are coping with an unusually high surge of patients suffering from the flu. But what’s driving that increase?

Most people who catch this season’s flu will spend several uncomfortable days shivering in bed. But those who get hit particularly hard can end up in the hospital, needing fluids or suffering from a high fever. And right now, says Dr. Brian Zink, head of emergency medicine for Rhode Island and The Miriam Hospitals, those hit hard by the flu are making for very busy emergency rooms. The reason? The season.

This week, I’ve been covering Rhode Island’s efforts to change the way we deal with substance abusers who frequent the emergency room (part 1, part 2). I talked to emergency dispatchers, firefighters, addiction treatment specialists, public officials, and more.