Introduction of our Medical Director Prof. Dr. A. van Vugt

I would like to introduce myself as the new Medical Director of EMS Air Ambulance & Medical Repatriation B.V.

Prof dr A

In my long career as a surgeon, I have practiced at the highest level of trauma care for almost 40 years. After my training as a trauma surgeon in Nijmegen, I was head of the department of trauma surgery at the current LUMC (Leiden), then appointed professor of trauma surgery at the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. After having built up the trauma centre there for a number of years, I returned to my "roots" as professor of trauma surgery at Radboud UMC. In both Rotterdam and Nijmegen I was head of the Casualty department; in Nijmegen I was also a trainer for the a field that had come into being: Casualty Physician. This beautiful academic career also had its downside. I was too preoccupied with tasks not directly related to my patients and missed the primary goal of my medical studies: Just being a doctor and treating patients 24/7. For this reason, I spent the last 10 years of my surgical practice in a large peripheral hospital, also a trauma centre. The Medisch Spectrum Twente (MST) also offered the possibility to be deployed for defence as a military surgeon. This was also a nice challenge and complement to my experience as a surgeon.

Experience as a trauma surgion

Apart from emergency medicine in its broad form, my expertise in surgery was mainly in the field of caring for seriously injured patients (so-called polo-trauma), damage control surgery (life-saving surgery). I had specific expertise and interest in the field of pelvic fractures, hip fractures, complex open fractures and foot injuries. In addition to acute care, I have gained more than 25 years of experience in the treatment of more chronically disabling problems, particularly of the pelvic ring (pelvic instability, sacroiliac (SI) pain syndrome).

Experience in education

Besides direct patient care, I have gained a lot of experience in the field of education and scientific research. In addition to my academic duties, I have mainly taught within national and international organisations such as Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS), Definitive Surgical Trauma Care (DSTC), Battlefield ALTS (defence) and various fracture institutions (AO, OTC).

Experience in management

In terms of management, apart from my experience as head of an academic department (Casualty) and having final responsibility for the trauma centre/heli-MMT, I have also chaired the foundation within the DSTC and the OTC for more than 10 years.

Not ready to retire just yet!

After my retirement on 1-1-2019 I was not ready to do "nothing". Although my hobbies (photography, walking the 4-day Nijmegen walk, travelling) and my family (wife, 3 beautiful daughters and 1 grandchild) do not bore me, it is wonderful to still fulfil useful tasks within medicine. Amongst other things, I am active in the field of the settlement of personal injury and professional liability (medical errors) for the legal profession and the courts. I am currently still teaching on various fronts. In addition, as of mid 2019, I became involved with EMS Air Ambulance & Medical Repatriation B.V. as a medical advisor and as an active repatriation doctor. I see the step to the position of Medical Director as a challenge. Protocols, clear definition of working methods, quality control and improvement are central, whereby it is important to forge all team members from driver to medical specialist into a close-knit team. With the principles of Crew Resource Management (CRM), not unknown to me from the past, this must now be given shape.

Arie van Vugt

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