December 9, 2019

You are working at a Level 1 Trauma Center; a 35-year-old female arrives via EMS from the scene of a motor vehicle accident. She was an unrestrained passenger, ejected 50 feet. She was hypotensive and hypoxic on scene with concern for head injury with a GCS of 7. She is clearly in shock on arrival with weak pulses, clammy skin, and a BP of 80/50mmHg, HR 140, sats 85%.  She is intubated, a chest tube is placed on the left (with improvement in O2 sats to 95%), and a pelvic binder is placed for suspected pelvic fracture. eFast demonstrates free fluid in the pelvis. Massive Transfusion Protocol (MTP) has been activated appropriately, and despite rapid delivery of 4 units Packed Red Blood Cells (PRBCs), 2 units of Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP) and 1 pack of Platelets, she remains hypotensive, with presumed hemorrhagic shock. The patient is destined for the OR, but you ask yourself, in traumatic hemorrhagic shock, is there a role for vasoactive agents?

August 1, 2019

You are working an ED shift with an experienced EM resident. As the resident prepares to intubate a 100kg patient with pneumonia you suggest that the head of the bed be elevated to aid in first pass success and avoidance of peri-intubation hypoxia. The resident thanks you for your kind suggestion and states ‘I just read an article in Annals of EM suggesting there was no benefit to non-supine position in ED patients.’ This is news to you. You give the resident the benefit of the doubt and ask them to send you a copy of their evidence.

September 13, 2018

Warning: Limited Published Evidence on this Topic

You have just intubated a 4 year old with sepsis from a bad pneumonia. Post intubation BP is 70 systolic, while waiting for the epinephrine (adrenaline) infusion to come up from pharmacy you watch the BP decline into the 60 systolic range and start to use fluids to resuscitate. You are an accomplished adult resuscitationist, and are comfortable mixing, and pushing push dose epi in your adult patients. The following questions arise as you consider mixing a batch of push dose epi:
  • How much push dose epinephrine should you give this septic 4 year old?
  • Do pediatric patients need more or less epi when given in push dose format?
  • How do some pediatric intensivists and pediatric emergency physicians manage this problem?

September 10, 2018

During a busy resuscitation it behooves the ED resuscitationist to avoid ordering therapies that have no clear benefit to their patients. Our nurses are overburdened, and adding interventions ‘just to be safe’ or ‘because we always do it’ is a great way to overwhelm our nursing colleagues. Bicarb administration is a contentious issue and many clinicians consider its use to fall firmly into the no-benefit camp, even when used in the management of severe metabolic acidosis. There have been no studies to date evaluating clinical outcomes  with the use of  sodium bicarbonate infusion therapy for severe metabolic acidemia, until now.  This post is a review of the recently published BICAR-ICU trial

May 12, 2018

Abscess management has evolved somewhat in the 14 years since my residency graduation. The point at which antibiotics are likely to be more helpful than harmful is not always easy to assess, and evidence based expert opinion has flip flopped impressively. Based on current evidence, I would like to answer 3 big questions that every clinician may have when confronted with an abscess:
  1. Who needs antibiotics?
  2. Which abscesses need to be drained?
  3. How should abscesses be drained?