Of the first few days of ACEP, Rudy’s memory is quite clear. He said John Wiegenstein’s vision was concise: He wanted emergency physicians to be the best physicians anywhere in the first hour of an illness or injury. He also wanted educational opportunities for emergency physicians and for the discipline to become a specialty with academic credibility. It is a testament to our founders that this all has happened in the subsequent 40 years.
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 30 – No 02 – February 2011
Rudy continued his career at St. Joseph’s until 1975, when that original group lost the contract. He then moved to Beaumont, Tex., where he worked until 1992. He also worked part time at Carson Hospital near his vacation home in Lake Tahoe, Nev., from 1990 to 2002 (and was embarrassed when asked to perform monthly screening exams for prostitutes). In 2002, health issues led to his retirement to Fredericksburg, Tex., where he lives today.
Rudy was called “the best EM teacher I ever had” by renowned emergency medicine educator Dr. Greg Henry. At the invitation of ACEP Past President Rick Blum, Rudy recently gave grand rounds at the West Virginia University emergency medicine residency. He also recently attended the 2010 ACEP Scientific Assembly – his first in many years. At the Las Vegas meeting, he renewed his acquaintance with the Wiegenstein family and with fellow ACEP founder John Rupke and his wife Boots.
What were Rudy’s thoughts on the current state of emergency medicine? Scientific Assembly amazed and overwhelmed him. He often referred to the 1960s when he and the original emergency physicians were labeled “renegades.” The size, quality, and prestige of the conference continuously put a large smile on his face. He told stories of a time when the entire meeting was held in one room. That emergency medicine is a respected academic discipline and that emergency physicians are leaders at many medical schools was something only dreamed of in his day.
Rudy said he is very happy that ACEP Past President Angela Gardner was invited to the White House when health care reform was discussed. He remembers that ACEP Past President Bob Williams was excluded from the Clinton White House when “Hillary Care” was being discussed.
Rudy looked around Las Vegas and kept saying “we dreamed of this.” The pride of someone who decided to build something and had the pleasure of seeing the fruits of his labor was evident.