Have you ever been working a shift at 3 am and wondered, “Am I missing something? I’ll just splint and instruct the patient to follow up with their PCP in 1 week.” This is a reasonable approach, especially if you’re concerned there could be a fracture. But we can do better. Enter the “Can’t Miss” series: a series organized by body part that will help identify injuries that ideally should not be missed. This list is not meant to be comprehensive review of each body part, but rather to highlight and improve your sensitivity for these potentially catastrophic injuries. To begin: “Can’t Miss” adult elbow injuries.(more…)
Radiology teaching during medical school is variable, ranging from informal teaching to required clerkships.1 Many of us likely received an approach to a chest x-ray, but approaches to other studies may or may not have not been taught. We can do better! Enter EMRad, a series aimed at providing approaches and improving interpretation of commonly ordered radiology studies in the emergency department. When applicable, it will provide pertinent measurements specific to management, and offer a framework for when to get an additional view, if appropriate. To begin: the elbow.(more…)
Chief Complaint: Right lower extremity injury while spear fishing
History of Present Illness: A 33-year-old male went river fishing with a homemade spear and diving mask in Papua New Guinea. He felt sudden pain and tugging to the right lower extremity. He was near shore and grabbed a tree root. He held on for dear life as he was being pulled back into the water. It felt as if his foot had been torn off. He did not let go of the tree root and eventually the pulling force ceased. He got out of the water and walked 2 miles unassisted before finding help and hospital transport.
Welcome to Leg Day #3 of the SplintER Series! Performing a fast and focused history and physical examination of a patient with an acute knee injury is an important skill that has the potential to be overlooked in our busy Emergency Departments. Our hope is that after reviewing this post and with enough practice you will be able to complete your exam within 2 minutes! These are can’t-miss points and expert tips on the knee exam for your next shift in the ED.Read more
Blunt Cerebrovascular Injury (BCVI) can be difficult to diagnose and potentially devastating to miss because of the risk of a potential ischemic stroke. The most recent (2010) Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST) guidelines reviewed 68 journal publications to create the following recommendations based on the best available evidence.1 We summarize the imaging and management recommendations most pertinent to the ED as an infographic for quick and easy reference.1,2 Of note: an isolated neck seat belt sign is NOT an indication for imaging!
A 32 year old woman arrives in your emergency department after being in a motor vehicle collision where she was the seat-belted driver. She undergoes chest CT imaging despite a negative chest x-ray because of her ongoing anterior chest wall diffuse tenderness. You discover a small 10% pneumothorax (PTX), but no other associated thoracic injuries. Should you place a tube thoracostomy (chest tube)? Should this patient be admitted to the hospital? A 2019 Annals of Emergency Medicine paper by the NEXUS Chest research group tackles these questions.1
Emergency Medicine (EM) residents are expected to be familiar with and competent in performing a wide number of procedures, including rare ones such as performing an escharotomy in a patient with severe burns. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of readily available simulation models to facilitate practice of this rare yet potentially life-saving skill.