Well, the CAEP 2023 (#CAEP23) (Canadian Associated of Emergency Physicians) conference is officially over. We’ve head back to our respective homes and departments, and by now the melancholy has fully kicked in.

It was the first time, in a while, that the CAEP conference felt.. normal. Like a reunion of sort. The theme of ‘Together Towards Tomorrow‘ felt appropriate; as it felt like a coming-together of the community. We needed that.

We had so much fun engaging with the Emergency Medicine community, learning new things, and seeing old friends that here at EMOttawa, we decided to do a CAEP 2023 review, from our perspective. We hope you enjoyed the conference as much as we did! Here, we present a few of the highlights from #CAEP23 (there was so much excellent content, that we wish we could’ve incorporated it all) – thanks to everyone who helped make the conference such a blast!


This conference made us feel some feelings..



The conference was officially opened by Dr. Sunil Mangal delivering a humbling, vulnerable and inspiring talk on his journey in Emergency Medicine.



When asked what advice he would give to his ‘younger self’, Dr. Mangal said; “Take a moment on shift to connect to patients, and engage with them as a person. It’s hard with ED pressures, but that’s what I miss”.

A humbling reminder of what we do in this job, and the reasons why we went into Emergency Medicine.


More feelings were had on Day 2, when Dr. Heather Patterson presented her plenary ‘Reframe. Re-Engage. Reconnect’:











“I’m not saying we should be an ostrich by avoiding what we look at. But we can change how we talk to ourselves, what we focus on, and remind ourselves why we became Emergency Physicians”. – Dr. Heather Patterson


Jordan, Joyce, and Justice: Confronting Medical Colonialism and Decolonizing Healthcare for Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Dr. Samir Shaheen-Hussain identified that the healthcare system is a key site of anti-Indigenous systemic racism, illustrated the role that a dominant ‘culture’ playas in normalizing oppression in healthcare and social services, and helped provide tools to confront medical colonialism and decolonizing pediatric healthcare. 


Docs that Rock

Packing the legendary El Mocambo – Docs that Rock put on a show that we’re not likely to forget any time soon…




..So much so, the crowd didn’t want them to leave


What did we learn if we made it to breakfast?


CT Heads in Geriatric Patients that Fall


In the morning plenary session, Dr. Catherine Varner gave us a novel approach to avoiding CT head in geriatric patients that have a fall, using the Falls Clinical Decision Rule by Dr. Kerstin de Wit et al. A CT head following a fall is not required IF:

  • Patient did not hit their head on falling
  • Patient remembers the fall
  • No new neurological deficit on exam
  • Patient is not frail or is living with very mild frailty (Clinical Frailty Score <5) 


On Thrombotic Microangiopathy:


Huh? Whats Thrombotic Microangiopathy (TMA)?

  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Fragments
  • Microangiopathic Hemolytic Anemia (MAHA)

Look for:

  • Elevated:
    • LDH
    • Indirect bilirubin
    • Reticulocytes
  • Decreased:
    • Haptoglobin
    • Hemoglobin
    • Platelets

On Sickle Cell Disease




And once we had enough coffee…



The crew over from U of T Emergency Medicine led a great panel on EDI and its integration into training curriculums:






Dr. Erin O’Conner from U of T, and Dr. Lisa Fischer of Ottawa used their palliative care training to help us develop better communication skills for ED physicians (we were quite partial to the acting ourselves)


Finding the Joy in Teaching

Dr. Alexandra Stefan reminded us that burnout amongst physicians is a direct threat to finding joy in teaching, and in building rapport with our trainees…




Dr. Andrew Hall encouraged us to find our Ikigai to discover joy at work, and to help us find a deeper purpose in our lives.




Dr. Hall also talked about how it can be difficult to receive feedback because its inconsistent, and that’s ok. Being better at receiving feedback can ensure that we have more engagement, receive more feedback and decrease our blind spots.

  1. Practice active listening
  2. Never argue, just say thanks
  3. Evaluate it, slowly
  4. Be mindful – incorporate that feedback and close the loop. 

Managing multiple learners


Dr. Shahbaz Syed maintains that one of the more challenging things we do in the ED is managing multiple trainees on shift. 





















Turning your Passion Project Scholarly

We affectionately refer to Dr. Hans Rosenberg as a ‘trash panda’ for his ability to turn almost anything into scholarly-output, him and Dr. Jason Frank gave us some great tips on how to do this with the ‘quadruple dip’.


TEE’ it up!

More than a fantastic title, Dr. Rajiv Thavanathan impressed the crowd with his talk on the use of TEE in the Emergency Department.










Communicating Diagnostic Uncertainty

Dr. Eileen Bridges, Dr. Jennifer Tang and Dr. Shirley Tee tackled optimizing patient safety and communication when dealing with diagnostic uncertainty.



EM:POWER – Task Force on the Future of Emergency Medicine Care



Check out EM:POWER to provide your voice and advocate for change in Emergency Medicine.



Across the board at #CAEP23, there were countless advocates for healthcare delivery across Canada. Emergency Medicine is lucky to have Alan Drummond at the forefront of all of that.



Explore your Passions





The Sono-Olympiad drew a lot of attention, as the challenges were extra-unique this year. Can you guess the play-doh creation below? Because Dr. Sam Wilson guessed it immediately to help team SonO-ttawa take the trophy this year!












From the EM Ottawa family – thanks for a great conference, and see you next year in Saskatoon! 



  • Shahbaz Syed

    Dr. Shahbaz Syed is a FRCPC Emergency Physician at the University of Ottawa, he is also the assistant director of Digital Scholarship and Knowledge Dissemination, and Co-Editor in Chief of the EMOttawa Blog.

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