Hilarious Tamiflu side-effect

Okay, it’s not hilarious, it’s funny that it’s included as a side effect of Tamiflu (treatment for influenza):

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I’m not a huge fan of Tamiflu (for the neuropsychiatric side effects), but I saw this last night on my pocket brain, and had to look today to see if it’s really listed.

It is, that’s off the Tamiflu full-download of the medication information (Link on the official Tamiflu page).

So you know, when patients are in studies, basically everything that happens while the subject is taking the medication has to be reported to the FDA, which is how all that oddness gets enshrined as less than 1% side effects. I do find it a little amusing that ‘pyrexia’ (fever) is listed as a side effect, since influenza classically has a fever, and the peritonsillar abscess diagnosis quite possibly indicates the patient didn’t have the flu, they had an undiagnosed condition subsequently diagnosed.

Tamiflu is a Genentech product, FYI.

Why we should be very wary of using clot busting drugs in CVA

Why we should be very wary of using clot busting drugs in CVA.

A concise treatise on the problems with TPa. Well Done!

Defikopter drone air-drops a defibrillator to EMTs on the ground

The Defikopter is a UAV that can be activated by a smartphone app to automatically take to the skies and drop a defibrillator to medical personnel on the ground, shaving precious seconds from the time it takes to receive treatment for cardiac arrest.

The idea for the drone comes from Definetz, a non-profit group dedicated to preventing deaths due to heart failure.

via Defikopter drone air-drops a defibrillator to EMTs on the ground.

Interesting idea. Won’t work here in the Land o’ the Lawsuit.

Budweiser is most popular beer among injured ER patients, pilot study says – NBC News.com

There’s a weird risk factor. What’s AB putting in their beers?*

Though Budweiser has 9.1 percent of the national beer market, it represented 15 percent of the of the E.R. “market.” The disparity was even more pronounced for Steel Reserve. It has only .8 percent of the market nationally, but accounted for 14.7 percent of the E.R. market. In all, Steel Reserve, Colt 45, Bud Ice, and another malt liquor, King Cobra, account for only 2.4 percent of the U.S. beer market, but accounted for 46 percent of the beer consumed by E.R. patients.

via Budweiser is most popular beer among injured ER patients, pilot study says – NBC News.com.

*Clearly a joke, don’t sue.

I met several CPR survivors today; I was involved with some of them

At the Fort Worth Municipal building, a gathering of AED/CPR survivors. I was told 10 of them; they came with their families, and there were a lot of lay rescuers and EMS, who as usual deserve the credit for a ‘save’, as if they don’t get the heart restarted in the field there’s not a lot we can do in the ER.

I was also told I was involved in the care of 4 of them. Crazy odds.

Two patients knew of me (probably from billing, frankly, none were awake in the ED), and they were 100% neurologically intact. We had nice chats, and I got my photo with both, but as I didn’t ask their permission to post them, I won’t.

Still, wow.

It’s incredibly humbling to have follow-up on a happy ED case, and when it’s neurologically intact CPR survivors, it’s the equivalent of a Moon shot for an ER guy, and today I got four. Four.

(It’s an occupational hazard in the ED that we meet/greet/diagnose/stabilize and disposition, and what that individual patients’ medical future holds we have no idea unless we go out of our way, and we’re busy enough nobody I know goes out of their way to follow up cases).

I am renewed. I’m not a Pollyanna doc (read the blog), but this has my attention: the practice has changed, and it works.

Hallelujah.

Our unrealistic attitudes about death, through a doctor’s eyes

We all die. Here’s just a snippet from this doctors’ experience:

…Sometimes an estranged family member is “flying in next week to get all this straightened out.” This is usually the person who knows the least about her struggling parent’s health; she’ll have problems bringing her white horse as carry-on luggage. This person may think she is being driven by compassion, but a good deal of what got her on the plane was the guilt and regret of living far away and having not done any of the heavy lifting in caring for her parent.

via Washington Post.

I’ve seen this many, many times in my ED; the child of the nearly-deceased who has been doing all the caring comes in, says essentially ‘let them die comfortably’, then come in the ones who haven’t been doing the work, haven’t seen the daily decline, and they browbeat the first into a retreat. ‘I think I misunderstood, we need to do everything’ they say to me while watching the floor; my job is nothing compared to the needless suffering they’ve consigned their dying parent to experience.

Shame on us for making dying foreign, and not the end of a life well spent.

An open letter to central line packaging engineers

Dear Sirs,

First, thank you for putting all the tools I need into one sterile package, minimizing the amout of running around finding little pieces to start central lines on my patients. (A central line goes into the central venous circulation, allowing the use of hypertonic medications and monitoring of venous pressures to guide fluid resuscitation).

Now, to my gripe: apparently none of you have thought about the order in which these devices are used when starting a line. Yes, everything has a special place, but it tells me you haven’t thought out the actual use of the kit when I have to dig the Seldinger wire out of the bottom of the kit despite its use being necessary very early in the process, and getting it out dislodges many of the other items from their pockets, then making the whole shebang a mess.

Therefore, I offer my assistance in designing a kit that makes more sense when it’s used.

Respectfully,

GruntDoc

FYI, here’s a nicely done animation of how to place a central line:

I do mine a little differently (direct sonographic guidance usually), but this is good for the gist. (The wire is there, but it’s really hard to see…).

Delusions of Benefit in the International Stroke Trial | Closer to the Truth

More TPa for stroke…

Delusions of Benefit in the International Stroke TrialResults of the largest and arguably most important trial ever of thrombolytics clot-busting drugs for acute stroke were published last week in The Lancet, and the study’s conclusions are breathtaking. Not because of the study results, which are unsurprising, but because the authors’ conclusions suggest that they have gone stark, raving mad.

via Delusions of Benefit in the International Stroke Trial | Closer to the Truth.

Well, that’s not good.

NYC painkiller poster

From NPR:

Doctors who follow the advice will consider alternatives to opioids and prescribe only a few days’ worth of the drugs, if they decide that’s the best course for short-term pain relief. They’ll also avoid starting patients on long-acting opioids, like Oxycontin, and will refrain from replacing lost, or allegedly lost, opioid prescriptions without lots of due diligence first.

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I like it.

Press Ganey, meet Wong-Baker

For those not actively engaged in the practice of medicine, this will mean nothing to you. For those of us in the trenches:

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I cannot wait for the day the government realizes this misguided effort is costing them Billions (and harming patients and providers).

 

ACEP 12 tweeting: Bukata and Hoffman

Those who don’t follow me on Twitter probably have calm, productive lives. Those who do wonder why I twitter at all. Because it keeps me busy and engaged, that’s why.

Here’s an edited compilation of two of the American College of Emergency Physicians Scientific Assembly 2012 lectures in tweets by me from Denver. These encompass about 3.5 hours of lecture by the same two legends, Jerry Hoffman and Rick Bukata reviewing the medical literature as it applies to EM.

I used Storify to put these together (it couldn’t have been easier). I left out a lot of comments from others, not as they weren’t interesting but as I’m trying to tell the story of this lecture.

At the end there’re some pictures of the Twitterers and Bloggers who get together after ACEP. Nice how we’re birds of a feather. For a bonus, at the end are Joe Lex’s 4 Rules of Emergency Medicine, which deserves its own compilation.

Colorado Mass Shooting Tested an E.R. Staff – NYTimes.com

Wow. Amazing.

AURORA, Colo. — More than three weeks have passed, but Daryl Johnson still begins his emergency room shift at the University of Colorado Hospital here with a sense of foreboding.

via Colorado Mass Shooting Tested an E.R. Staff – NYTimes.com.

And horribly frightening. I pray I spend my entire career and not have a night like that.

Chief Complaint of the night

Chief Complaint of the night (so far): "patient more lethargic than normal".
@gruntdoc
GruntDoc

A ten year doc’s advice to newly graduated EM residents…

Recently, I blogged about being at my new job for 10 years. It was a wonderful experience to blog about stability. It’s also illuminating I’ve been here for 10 years and still call it my new job.

Not long after the blog post went up, I got an email from a soon to graduate Emergency Medicine resident who was curious as to what techniques I have used to stay at the same job for 10 years. This caused me some consternation, as I don’t think I really had an actual plan to be at the same place for this period of time. Emergency medicine practitioners are not known to stay in the same place for a long time, so blogging about a 10 year stay is something of an anomaly.

When I was a resident the common knowledge given was that it was important to serve on hospital committees, and to otherwise do a good job and you would be recognized and your life would be fine. This may or may not be true for everyone. I did find that I was on hospital committees, but it was after I’d been here for more than eight years and was interested in serving on them. One of the unusual things about my group is that there is extraordinary longevity, and I’m still basically middle of the pack having been here 10 years. I realize this is atypical for emergency medicine, but I think it will become more normal to have more job longevity as the emergency medicine field matures, and as there are more graduating residents.

What you’ll find helps you in the long run in emergency medicine is being a good colleague to the medical staff. This is somewhat antithetical to the way we’re trained, which is this low-level combat between departments, but ultimately the rainmakers talk to the hospital President, if your group isn’t making it some other group will. This does not mean you have to be a doormat but it does mean that when a consultant calls and asks you for a favor if it’s not unreasonable you should do it. This isn’t bad medicine, this is actually good medicine because you’re helping a smart colleague help out their patient. This service does not go unnoticed. In fact, if you want to stay in your place for a long time, be known to be helpful.

Being competent, you’d think, would be a given; you’d be wrong. Being competent in your job, and collegial with the nurses and staff, goes a long way to being accepted as one of the group and being one of the group means you get to stay.

Nobody wants their doctor to be having a bad day. Nobody who works there wants the ER doctor to be having a bad day. It doesn’t matter that your cat threw up in your shoes, or that your underwear is too tight, you have to try to get along. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I’m all roses and sunshine but I’m trying every day to get better at this.

Your reputation is set early, take advantage of that. I have a reputation for always being early; these days I’m about on time. For the first six months, I was about 10 to 15 minutes early for every shift. But, since I was always early initially, my reputation is set. On the same theme, as a colleague says, two minutes late is not on time, it’s very very late. When you’re working your tail off, you don’t want to be wondering when your relief is coming in. You’re very important; so is every single person you work with. Never forget that.

New grads are always interested in, and worry about, hospital politics. Here’s the short version of hospital politics in your first two years of practice: don’t make the directors’ job hard. That’s all you have to do. Just show up, work, practice good medicine, and don’t make the director’s job hard. The director is in that position for a reason; as a matter of fact, they’re so smart they hired you, so you should give them the benefit of the doubt when the iffy call comes out. They don’t want you to bother a certain specialist after a certain time; there’s a reason for that, and you should have a conversation behind closed doors, not at the nurses station.

And, when you do finally step in it, and make the mess that’s going to show up on the directors desk sooner or later, you need to be the one that has the conversation with the director first and they don’t need to hear about it from anyone else. This is basic leadership and you need to get on board with it. If they have the facts, and have your side of the story good or bad, they can help you; if they get called on the carpet and have to defend you not knowing your side of the tale, you will not come out the better for the experience. This is just the way of the world, it’s been the same way since you got punished for your brother knocking over the lamp. Help the guy who’s got to help you.

Also, when you show up, you’re going to be full of new knowledge. This doesn’t mean you’re smarter than the group, this just means you got out of training more recently. Use your new power for good and not for evil. And as you’ve probably guessed, there are about 30 ways to skin a cat, and you got trained in two. Keep your eyes open, and learn from your colleagues. They want to help you, let them help you.

Finally, have a life. Don’t spend all the money, put some away, as you may be like me and have to change jobs the first year. It happens. It happens to a lot of us; this doesn’t mean you’re bad it just means it was a bad fit. Keep trying.

Most of that was platitudes; sorry about that. The realty is if you’re a good person, do a good job, and play well with others you’ll be fine.

 

This was written with the new Mountain Lion operating system for the iMac; it was dictated and now you know that I don’t speak well.

 

Ottawa ankle rules and me

@ @ @ Ottawa Ankle Rules? People follow them? :) I try to explain to pts but really, they want an XR

This reminds me of my experience with the Ottawa Ankle Rules in the Navy.

USMC Infantry is designed to generate ankle sprains, and recurrent ones. Initial sprains as young athletic hard chargers are required to carry big loads over unimproved terrain in the dark, plus seemingly all the time not in direct training was spent running.

The larger problem, and one I was educated on by a fellow BN Surgeon (who was a physical therapist prior to med school) while in Okinawa is that there’s no ankle rehab after a sprain. As soon as you can run on it you do, despite having torn stabilizing ligaments and not having done the training and exercises to get the ankles’ accessory stabilizers up to speed. Then, another sprain. The story of how our medical department got this fixed later.

Sick Call was musculoskeletal city with daily ankle sprains, which by that time in the Marines were usually recurrent. About a year into my assignment, out came the Ottawa Ankle Rules. After a year of negative x-rays, finally, a clinical tool to cut down on useless imaging! I used it in practice, taught it to the Corpsmen (who also found it usable and liked it) and our x-ray utilization dropped hugely and AFAIK we didn’t miss any significant fractures. I was proud.

I was moonlighting (for free, I was that bored) in the Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital ED, and mentioned my new practice and how I was proud to have made an impact.

The response: Please stop doing that. Now when they get off duty they drive down here to get an x-ray”.

Humbled, we backed off a little, but not much.

My response to the above tweet (which I now think I recall as being an @nickgenes original) was “Canadians get exams, Americans get x-rays”, which sums it up nicely.