• Sedatives

Paucis Verbis: Chemical sedation for severe agitation

By |Categories: ALiEM Cards, Tox & Medications|

Haldol, Ativan, and Versed… oh my. In the Emergency Department, some patients present very acutely and aggressively agitated. This is usually the result of illicit drug use or a schizophrenic who hasn’t been taking medications (or both!). Fortunately, we have an arsenal of medications to help sedate the patient. […]

  • Benzoin Eye Open

Trick of the Trade: Benzoin for opening traumatic, swollen eyelids

By |Categories: Ophthalmology, Tricks of the Trade|Tags: |

Patients who sustain facial trauma often have swollen eyelids. They may be so swollen that it is impossible to pull back the eyelids for an ocular exam. You use one of our “Tricks of the Trade”ideas and attempt to “roll” the upper eyelid using the Q-tip trick (above).Fresh blood on the face, however, makes the Q-tip a little slippery along the upper eyelid, preventing an adequate view of the eye itself. […]

  • Palpate abdomen

Paucis Verbis: Strength of diagnostic tests for cholecystitis

By |Categories: ALiEM Cards, Gastrointestinal|

You have a 40 year-old man who presents to the ED for persistent right upper quadrant abdominal pain for 12 hours after eating a fatty meal. He has no fevers, nausea, flank pain, or dysuria. His physical exam shows no fever and only moderate tenderness in the RUQ without guarding. He has a Murphy’s sign which is improved after a total of 8 mg of IV morphine. His laboratory results, which include a WBC, liver function tests, lipase, and urinalysis, are normal. Can you safely say that the patient doesn’t have cholecystitis? Can you discharge him for outpatient ultrasonography to [...]

  • Abscess Diagram

Trick of the Trade: Topical anesthetic cream for cutaneous abscess drainage in children

By |Categories: Infectious Disease, Pediatrics, Tricks of the Trade|

Abscess drainage can be painful and time consuming in the ED. Can this article help? 1 Trick of the Trade Apply a topical anesthetic cream on skin abscesses prior to incision and drainage (I and D). In this press-released article in American Journal of Emergency Medicine, the authors found that application of a topical 4% lidocaine cream (LMX 4) was associated with spontaneous cutaneous abscess drainage in children. […]

  • Ketamine vial

Hot off the press: Clinical practice guideline for ketamine in the ED

By |Categories: Pediatrics, Tox & Medications|

A 3 year old girl is brought into the ED with an abscess to her groin. Upon examination it is fluctuant and needs incision and drainage. Next door is a 5 year old boy, who fell off his bed and has an angulated radius fracture that needs reduction. Hhhmmmm…how to manage these patients? Local anesthesia? Hematoma block? Nothing (aka brutacaine)? What about ketamine, that seems popular these days. IV? IM? With or without atropine? So many decisions! Luckily you were surfing the internet one night and came across the 2011 clinical practice guideline on ketamine in the ED, which was [...]

  • Pneumonia RUL

Paucis Verbis: Pneumonia risk stratification tools

By |Categories: ALiEM Cards, Pulmonary|

Pneumonia is a common cause for ED visits. How do you decide on whether the patient can be managed as an outpatient or inpatient? To supplement your clinical judgment, many clinicians use the Pneumonia Severity Index (PSI) score. Have you heard of CURB-65, supported by the British Thoracic Society? What about SMART-COP, which is meant to help you predict if your patient will need Intensive Respiratory or Vasopressor Support (IRVS)? […]

  • Suicidal frown depressed depression

Paucis Verbis: Assessing patients with suicidality in the ED

By |Categories: ALiEM Cards, Psychiatry|

Dr. Rob Orman emailed me last week about creating a pocket card on Suicide Risk Stratification. In many community ED’s, risk assessment is done by the emergency physician. I’m lucky where I work, because we have a 24/7 psychiatric ED, which consults on suicidal patients in the “medical ED”. In the end, assessment is primarily based on physician judgment, because there’s no great clinical decision tool, rules, or scores to assess risk. Rob has created his own mnemonic to help you ask the right questions in assessing a suicidal patient. This is a sneak peek into a larger article that [...]