A shocking day at work

Today’s included the therapeutic application of electricity


and a real oddity: an adolescent with a potassium of 1.8 (yes, I repeated it).

Emergency Medicine can be mundane occasionally, but days like today make for a really nice change.


  1. CancerDoc says:

    Do you know the cause of the low potassium? Seems like we had a low potassium like that back in my training days….toluene/glue sniffing?

  2. 08ArmyDoc says:

    Nice! Was the Fibber stable?

    Not sure about the K, haven’t seen one that low – just in the mid 2s

  3. Bulimia?

  4. Prolonged diarrhea? Laxative overuse? Renal wasting? Eating too much licorice?

    Guessing the cause of the low K could get interesting.

  5. Did you ask the teenager for the diagnosis. Usually they know everything.

  6. Derrick L. says:

    hypokalemic periodic paralysis?

  7. Suburban ER Doc says:

    Sniffing paint (toluene) was the cause of the lowest potassium I ever saw.

  8. whitecap nurse says:

    Was the adolescent Asian? I’ve had one idiopathic hypoK and I’ve heard it’s more common in that population.

  9. I cannot say any more about the case, as it would probably lead to a specific patient (how many of these are there, anyway?). So, no more from me.

  10. Moriah Roberts says:

    I have no idea what all this means, but it looks complex. I’m guessing that you don’t want your charts to have a piece of paper like that stuck in them.


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