About Michelle Lin, MD

ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco

Trick of the Trade: Laryngoscope lifting strength

IntubationYou are about to endotracheally intubate a patient. As you struggle to elevate the laryngoscope more anteriorly, has your left hand ever trembled while trying to see the vocal cords? Before you say, “I think the cords are too anterior, hand me the [insert your favorite backup airway adjunct]“, let’s focus on some basics.

How can you gain significantly more laryngoscope lift strength? You can do more left arm bicep/tricep exercises, or…

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2016-11-11T19:01:46-08:00

Tricks of the Trade: Diagnosing retinal detachment with ultrasound

In a sneak peek of my ACEP News’ Tricks of the Trade column, Dr. Patrick Lenaghan, Dr. Ralph Wang, and I will discuss how bedside ultrasonography can significantly improve your ocular exam.

Here is a classic example. A patient presents with acute onset right eye pain and blurry vision. She possibly has a field cut in her vision. Her pupils are a teeny 2 mm in size in the brightly-lit Emergency Department. You are having a hard time getting a good fundoscopic exam to comfortably rule-out a retinal detachment.

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2019-01-28T23:53:04-08:00

Article review: Neuro exam documentation

Medicolegal woes often can be tracked back to poor documentation by the physician.

This article is a retrospective chart review of 384 EM resident charts, focusing on the documentation of the neurologic exam. Charts were selected if their chief complaints were neurologic or psychiatric in nature. A non-validated measurement tool for evaluating a neurologic exam was created based on discussions with attending emergency physicians. I have to agree with the chosen criteria. Documentation in each of the following criterion receives 1 point for a maximum score of 8.

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2013-06-27T13:54:49-07:00

Trick of the Trade: Subclavian line gone north

SubclavianNEJManatIn patients requiring central venous access, which vein do you prefer? In descending order, I prefer subclavians, internal jugulars (IJ), and then femorals.

There is increasing evidence that subclavian central venous lines are superior to femoral lines (JAMA 2001) with respect to iatrogenic infection and thrombosis rates. In 9% of subclavian lines, however, the line tip ends up in the ipsilateral IJ, instead of the superior vena cava (SVC) – see chest xray below. These lines are unusable in the long term because of the risk of cathether thrombosis in this low-flow area. The line must must be rewired.

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2016-11-11T19:01:49-08:00

Article Review: Hidden cost of reducing resident duty hours

Patient care versus education

This is the tug-of-war struggle that residency programs constantly grapple with. Residents work in an apprenticeship model where they are both patient providers and learners. Both are critical in residency training, but they sometimes negatively impact each other. For instance, EM residents hand-off their patients to covering residents while attending their weekly conference classes. In contrast, residents may skip that day’s board teaching rounds to manage an acutely decompensating patient.

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2013-06-15T18:29:04-07:00