Since the beginning of mankind, medical emergencies have existed. However, only in the last several decades has the specialty of emergency medicine developed. The United States and the United Kingdom were probably the first to recognize the need for a physician to be properly trained in this discipline. It quickly became evident that many lives could be saved by physicians trained in this art. Now is an exciting time for the field, as more and more countries have recognized this and are developing training programs in emergency medicine. This book is based upon a course in emergency medicine that was held in Ireland in the fall of 2001 and on several other lectures given that year. The course was held at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and was a joint effort of faculty comprised from the Brown University program in Emergency Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island and Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. The goals of the course were to introduce the basic principles and practice of emergency medicine, to present some cutting edge topics, and to help encourage an interest in developing an academic training program in emergency medicine in Ireland. I hope that this collection of papers will be enjoyed by: medical students, residents, attending physicians, and by all who pursue an interest in emergency medicine. It is not intended to be a comprehensive text on emergency medicine. The purpose is to present some pertinent topics and observations from experienced physicians in a scientific and evidence-based fashion.