Dr Jeremy Furyk is a senior staff specialist, emergency physician at the Townsville Hospital. He has held this position since 2005 and for the past few years has been the director of emergency medicine research. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at James Cook University, College of Medicine and Dentistry and works on a casual basis for Careflight Medical Services.
Dr Furyk’s main professional interests are in evidence-based medicine, clinical trials, paediatrics, and aeromedical retrieval and pre-hospital care. The focus of his research efforts are increasingly with paediatrics and the Paediatric Research in Emergency Department International Collaborative (PREDICT) collaboration.
According to Dr Furyk, research defines emergency medicine physicians as a specialty and is critical for the profession to continue to improve the delivery of clinical care. He says that quality clinical trials are required to answer important clinical questions and to provide evidence that supports clinical interventions.
Given the nature of emergency medicine, and infrequent and unpredictable presentations of specific serious and life threatening conditions, Dr Furyk suggests that quality multi-centre collaborations will be fundamental to answering key clinical questions in the future.
> Epilepsy trials
In 2015, Dr Furyk was awarded a Staff Specialist grant to conduct a study in children with the most severe type of epilepsy: Convulsive status epilepticus (CSE), which occurs when seizures do not stop spontaneously, and can result in long-term disabilities and rarely death. In this study, Dr Furyk and his team will provide a better understanding of the incidence and causes of CSE in children in Australia and New Zealand and help determine ways to improve the treatment and management of this condition. The study will complement other clinical trials of CSE, and could lead to further clinical trials of new treatments.
In 2014, Dr Furyk also received a Project grant to undertake a randomised controlled trial of the second line anticonvulsants phenytoin and levetiracetam for CSE in children.
Dr Furyk completed a Master of Science – Clinical Trials through London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), London University, with support from a 2013 EMF Fellowship.
> Townsville Hospital research capacity building
Dr Furyk has been involved in overseeing the research capacity building efforts at the Townville Hospital, following a 2013 EMF Capacity Building Grant. This has increased research capacity at the Townsville Hospital and has allowed continual development of a research culture within the emergency department. Dr Furyk says it is very pleasing to see increased involvement from other staff in the department’s research activities.
> New treatment for kidney stones
Dr Furyk has been leading the world’s largest research study into kidney stone management, which trialed a new medication, Tamsulosin, that may help kidney stone patients avoid painful surgery. The trial recruited 300,000 patients and was a successful collaboration of four tertiary emergency departments in Queensland and was likely the first Queensland-led, multi-centre clinical trial. Findings were published in June 2015 and Dr Furyk is currently working on a List of Approved Medications (LAM) application for Tamsulsoin for patients with large stones.
Dr Furyk was awarded Best Paper by a FACEM at the 2014 Australasian College of Emergency Medicine Annual Scientific Meeting, for his paper: The DUST trial (Distal Ureteric Stones and Tamsulosin: A Double Blinded, Placebo-Controlled, Randomised, Multi-Centre Trial).
EMF awarded Dr Furyk a $278,000 Project grant in 2013 to undertake this trial.
> Drugs for treating nausea and vomiting
In 2013, EMF also funded Dr Furyk’s Cochrane review of anti-emetics (drugs that are effective against vomiting and nausea) in the emergency department. This has undergone a rigorous review process and was recently accepted for publication.
Dr Furyk acknowledges EMF for ongoing support provided by EMF grants and fellowships and the James Cook University and The University of Queensland with assistance with administration aspects and advice. He also acknowledges the collaborative opportunities provided through PREDICT and the Queensland Emergency Research Collaborative (QERC).