It is near the end of your shift and one of the nurses asks you to see a fellow ED staff member’s nine-year old daughter who has accidentally put a foreign body into her ear. You go see her and the otoscope reveals a small shiny jewel within the ear canal however flushing does not work to get it out. Next you try using the otoscope, while exposing the ear canal and holding the forceps to grasp the object. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get your assistant to align the light, and the otoscope speculum is limited in view and access.
Insect removal from the ear is a foreign body removal procedure with unique considerations. First, insects are friable. Have you ever squashed a house centipede? It’s like their 700 legs are spring-loaded to fall off instantly when touched. This characteristic makes mechanical removal by alligator forceps or cerumen loops less reliable. Second, they are alive which means they can move during your attempted extraction procedure.
You see a patient with a large V-shaped laceration under tension requiring suture repair. Resist the temptation to simply pull the edges together and close the laceration with simple interrupted or running sutures. Excessive tension on a flap edge during the healing process can compromise its blood supply. This causes ischemia to the healing tissue, which in turn makes that flap edge more likely to dehisce, necrose, and become infected.
One advantage of simulation as an educational tool is the re-creation of cognitive and emotional stresses in caring for patients. Doing this for a high fidelity scenario is relatively easy – add additional patients, make a them loud, combative, or otherwise cantankerous, and add interruptions for good measure. However, when training for procedures in the simulation lab, we practice the procedure in isolation on a “task trainer” without cognitive and emotional stress for context. An off-the-shelf task trainer can do a superb job of teaching the mechanics of performing a procedure, but they lack complexity necessary to train for performing the procedure under stress. (more…)
Patients with fingertip injuries involving the nail bed typically present to the emergency department and require meticulous repair of the nail bed to prevent long-term cosmetic and functional disability. There are several methods to repair nail beds, typically involving absorbable suture, but maybe there is a faster way with similar cosmetic and functional outcomes.(more…)
You are spending a month in rural Kenya, doing an ultrasound teaching course. Your enthusiastic participants have been ultrasounding every chance they get. Unfortunately, this has caused your ultrasound gel supplies to dwindle. It will be a month before a new shipment of gel arrives from Nairobi. This gel will cost about $5 per bottle, which is a considerable expense for the local hospital’s budget.
A healthy 4 year-old boy is brought in by mom for a plastic bead up his nose. The mom states, “The last time the other doctors had to be called, and it took forever. Oh, and I have to pick up his brother from school in 30 minutes. Can you get it out, doc?” The patient is squirming even as you take a quick peek at his nose, but you catch a glimmer of the bead up his right nare.