Patients with 5th metacarpal fractures (commonly termed “boxer’s fracture”) are frequently treated in the emergency department (ED) with closed reduction and splinting. Obtaining analgesia and a successful closed reduction can often be challenging without procedural sedation. Severe swelling can make a hematoma block difficult, often resulting in inadequate analgesia. An ultrasound-guided ulnar nerve block provides a simple method to facilitate pain relief and allow for improved fracture site manipulation.
Your triage nurse complains of numerous patients in the waiting room complaining of nausea, retching, and emesis. They ask you “why can’t we have an antiemetic on hand in triage?” Turns out they might have had an effective antiemetic on hand, or rather in their scrub pocket the entire time. They just didn’t know about it yet.
This year I published a Novel, Simple Method for Achieving Hemostasis of Fingertip Dermal Avulsion Injuries in the Journal of Emergency Medicine 1 — a technique I’ve used in my local ED for several years. In brief, this involves achieving hemostasis over a fingertip skin avulsion by using a tourniquet followed by tissue adhesive glue. After bringing the technique to press and sharing this video, I’ve received great tips from peers and subsequently refined it with some additional ideas. Thus I present for the first time on ALiEM: Dermal Avulsion Injuries 2.0.
Recall the last time you were sitting in a room doing a large-volume, therapeutic paracentesis in the ED. Were you stressing out because your other patients were still being actively managed? Large-volume paracentesis is a common and important part of our practice, but often requires your dedicated time at the bedside. Additionally, what do you do if you do not have the fancy paracentesis kit or vacuum collection bottles?
A 5 year old boy comes in who has stuck a small unpopped popcorn kernel into each ear. My resident and I discuss different methods to try to get it out including an ear curette, tissue glue, suction, and calling the ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialist. The ear curette won’t work to get around and the kernels are smooth and hard to grasp and might cause trauma with swelling or bleeding. We quickly excluded irrigation because the kernel might swell more. Another method considered was a drop of tissue adhesive onto a q-tip stick to adhere onto the foreign body (FB) for extraction. We were a little leary of this however for fear of gluing the FB to the ear canal and suffering the wrath of ENT.
Venipuncture is the most common invasive procedure performed in the emergency department 1 , likely due to the fact that the vast majority of our laboratory evaluations require blood and many of our life saving interventions require access to the patient’s systemic circulation. Most of the time emergency department staff are able to perform this procedure easily, but occasionally you find that your patient is the dreaded “difficult stick”. Literature suggests that the landmark technique is successful on the initial venipuncture 74-77% of the time. 2–5 Success rates rise after multiple attempts, but what happens when you don’t have the luxury of time? What happens when your patient will die if you don’t get life saving medications into their circulation promptly? There are a few options when you can’t get IV access through traditional means, among them external jugular vein cannulation, central line, ultrasound-guided IV, and the intraosseous lines (IO).6 However, when managing the crashing patient, a wise decision is to use the quickest option, which is often the IO.
An 82-year-old female is brought into the Emergency Department by family for a several day history of progressive altered mental status. You initiate a broad workup. However, soon after initial evaluation, you are called back into the room. The patient’s vitals are as follows and concerning for septic shock and an alarming serum sodium level.