ACEP Scientific Assembly 2011

It’s in San Francisco this year, and starts in the morning. While I’m NOT a morning person I’m going to make as much of it as I can, as the lectures are good, and worth the time.

I plan to live-tweet my conferences tomorrow, so if you’re interested follow along on Twitter @gruntdoc. Last year I had more than 200, and some people liked them. We shall see, some lectures, and lecturers, are more quotable than others.

Yes, people watching here.

Really good Ultrasound in EM case

Via hqdmeded.com:


20 yo M with “abscess” from hqmeded.com on Vimeo.

To Admit or Not to Admit? That is the Question. | WhiteCoat’s Call Room

Gastroenterologist Michael Kirsch put up a post on his blog that was then reposted over at ACP Hospitalist asking where the threshold for admitting a patient to the hospital should be.

He asserts that there should be more collaboration between medical colleagues to determine whether or not a patient needs to be hospitalized…

via To Admit or Not to Admit? That is the Question. | WhiteCoat’s Call Room.

Another WhiteCoat tour de force.

Overhead, overheard

“Would any EMS unit that can leave, leave now? We’re out of bays.”

When you run out of EMS bays (and we have several), you’re having a bad day.

In Fort Worth, MedStar’s Community Health Program cutting costs, improving patients’ well-being …

Kudos to MedStar (our Fort Worth EMS provider) for their excellent work on this project:

 

The Community Health Program was started in 2008 after MedStar officials discovered that 21 patients were using a big chunk of ambulance and emergency department resources. Those patients triggered more than 800 ambulance calls and cost the system more than $962,000 in charges, most of which were never collected because the patients lacked health insurance.

Nine of the 21 were selected for the program. They experienced a 77 percent reduction in their need for services during a 30-day test.

via In Fort Worth, MedStar’s Community Health Program cutting costs, improving patients’ well-being ….

Caffeine? Who needs caffeine?

I walked into one of my first patients’ rooms last the other night, and saw this 3 Lead strip sitting on the counter:

It was for a different patient.

Took me a minute to recover, though…

Compression Only CPR video

Okay, it’s kind of amusing, and I hope it induces someone to learn compression only CPR. Which is WAY easier to do, and teach, than what I started with back in the day (15 compressions, 2 breaths, rinse/repeat).

But if this makes Disco come back, is it worth it?





via Ace.

The Case of the Crazy Rabid Squirrel | WhiteCoat’s Call Room

Read the rest, and wonder. Others practice risk-avoidance to the ED, and then we wonder why our patients are unhappy and give us poor scores.

Man and squirrel fight it out in man’s driveway. Squirrel scratches him twice, man runs inside grabs BB gun and plugs squirrel ala Elmer J Fudd. Man then calls health department for advice about what to do. Health department tells him to go to ED for rabies shots.

via The Case of the Crazy Rabid Squirrel | WhiteCoat’s Call Room.

Dr. Perfect | WhiteCoat’s Call Room

…Actually, statements like that do serve one purpose. They make it a pretty good bet that none of the doctors in our department will ever refer another patient to you or your your hospital…

via Dr. Perfect | WhiteCoat’s Call Room.

Sing it, brother.

My first medical checklist

Laugh if you want, this helps my life, at least at work.

For months after starting my current gig, I would sometimes get to work with everything in all my pockets, and sometimes not.

I’d forget my ID, or my pen, or my phone, or my…well, there you go.

Then my OCD started to kick in, and, a Mental Checklist was born.
I now have to get 6 things, and set them on the table or I screw it up every time.

  • ID
  • stethoscope
  • my phone
  • work phone
  • pen
  • sharp stick (I’ve written about this before, but cannot find it. You should search an ER blog for the word ‘knife’ and then wonder why you bothered).

Last week I apparently went against the checklist, and halfway through the shift realized I’d lost my ID. Of course, after about a combined half-hour of fruitless search I gave up, and found it in my bag on the way out. Geez.

Yeah, it sounds stupid. But if it’s stupid and it works, it’s not stupid.

 

 

Medical Apps? There’s a Doc for That

When emergency physician Harvey Castro asked a nurse to start a dopamine dose for a hypotensive patient one day, he watched the nurse leave the room, find the book that could guide her to the titratable dose, look in the index and then flip through until she found what she needed. Castro wondered, Isn’t there a more efficient way?

via Medical Apps? There’s a Doc for That.

A fellow DFW doc who’s done well in the Medical App world ( Deep Pocket Series ).

Dr. Castro was nice enough to let me play with some of his apps about a year ago, and while I never found a big use for them (my practice style, no knock on him) they were well done and approachable for me.

Kudos to Dr. Castro!

Attention ABEM Diplomates: LLSA now comes with (additional cost) CME!

This may be old news but I found out about it today, in an email from AAEM:

ABEM 2011 LLSA CME ACTIVITY APPROVED FOR “AMA PRA CATEGORY 1 CREDIT™”

The “new” ABEM 2011 LLSA CME Activity is now available to Diplomates preparing to take the 2011 Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment (LLSA) test. LLSA tests are one component necessary for maintaining certification with the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM). Upon completion of the CME Activity and a passing score of 85, Diplomates will be able to earn “AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.”

Here’s the complete ABEM press release as a .pdf file.

How much CME? 15 hours (.pdf file). It’s way better than nothing, which was what we got before, and the cost of this CME is an additional $30, so it’s very reasonably assessed.

The ABEM site is full of warnings that you MUST register for the CME FIRST in order to get it; start the LLSA, then remember you wanted the CME? Too bad.

Here’s a screenshot of my ABEM page, and I’ve highlighted the new CME box:

CME for the 2011 LLSA!

I added the highlights, but it’s not hiding, so as long as you know to do it in advance you’re better off than before.

Two more things: First, I’ve been pretty hard on ABEM for requiring these yearly tests with nothing but a self-printable certificate and the opportunity to take more tests, so this is a welcome change. It’s several years too late, but at least it’s here now, so a half-a-kudo to ABEM for getting this belatedly right.

Second, I haven’t said anything (I don’t think) but my favorite LLSA study course is the one given by Drs. Abrahamian and Lovato from UCLA-Olive view, called MEGA-LLSA. It’s well organized, entertaining, and they have it all figured out. I have done my last 4 or 5 years’ tests with them, and provided they have their March course in Disneyland again in 2012 I’ll be there for that one. I recommend it. (A caveat: their communication between paying for the course and the starting place/date/time is poor to non-existent; plan on having to scout out here in the hotel the course is yourself, and showing up early to ask when your class starts…).

Movin’ Meat: Medical Malpractice Self-Insurance — Is it right for your group?

ShadowFax is doing all EP’s a favor by explaining one of the more frustrating, and opaque areas of Emergency Medicine, group insurance. His group self-insures (apparently), and he knows way way too much about it:

One of the more painful elements of running a group practice is the ritual abasement before the god-like executives at the insurance company annual malpractice insurance re-bid. It’s kind of like a visit to the dentist: guaranteed to be uncomfortable and with the potential for a very unhappy surprise. Also, it leaves your face numb and drooling. The only thing that matches it in pain is writing the check every quarter, year after year, and then looking back at your actual, you know, losses, and seeing that you have paid for insurance way way more than you ever lost in liability claims. It’s got the all visceral satisfaction of lighting a pile of money on fire.

via Movin’ Meat: Medical Malpractice Self-Insurance — Is it right for your group?.

He’s got another, just as informative follow-on post, and the promise of at least one more. Frankly, it’s a primer for groups who are considering this (and AFIK, mine isn’t).

I take my job for granted

until a student of medicine shows me it’s unusual…

We have (mostly) non-EM studs rotate through our ED on their sometimes mandatory, sometimes killing a month elective ED tour. There is little reason for EM destined students to rotate in our place, as we don’t have a residency and we’re not part of the club of EM residency directors ( i.e. letter of rec writers). So, usually not EM hard chargers. Nothing wrong with that, but they’re not my cuppa tea.

Today’s lesson: shoulder reduction for the non-EM Stud, and for me in What We Do Isn’t Usual.

As is our norm, after a thorough Hx, PE, Xrays and Time Out, was in on a 2 doc reduction; One does the sedation, one the reduction. I don’t typically have students follow me: I don’t dislike the students, but I don’t have them. Personal preference.

Today, a shoulder reduction. My colleagues’ student. Not destined for a life in the ED (already matched, not in a remotely EM specialty). My colleague is on the sedation, and I’m on the reduction. I, after discussing the technique, in my presence and under my direction, allowed the stud the first attempt at reduction after sedation. No go. Good effort, not enough muscle.

Second attempt was mine, and when we got the happy “clunk” (with the accompanying interesting sound), I was happy but the Stud wasn’t. While not actively vomiting, the Stud wasn’t uber-happy. At all. Wide eyed, in fact. Unpleasantly surprised, in reality.

After a period both the patient and the Stud recovered. One with a shoulder that’ll work, and one with an appreciation for what it takes to reduce a dislocated shoulder.

And I got the indirect lesson, that what I do isn’t common, and is actually a skill.

Students teach, too.

Thank you for the lesson.

 

 

This is what one kind of stroke looks like

Update 2-17-11: Not a stroke, thank goodness, but a stroke mimic, a complex migraine:

LOS ANGELES — A TV reporter who lapsed into gibberish during a live shot outside the Grammys suffered a migraine, her doctors said Thursday.

KCBS-TV reporter Serene Branson was doing a stand-up Sunday outside the Staples Center where the award show was held when her speech became incoherent. The station quickly cut away, and she was examined by paramedics and recovered at home.

Branson’s incoherence fueled Internet speculation that she suffered an on-air stroke. But doctors at the University of California, Los Angeles where she went to get a brain scan and blood work done ruled it out.

I’m glad for her. The smart move is to assume this is a stroke until proven it’s not, and I’m glad it wasn’t.

Original Post:

The site I found this on assumed it was on-air jitters, and called it ‘the flub heard ’round the world‘.

Except it’s not a flub. This is one way a stroke can present (watch the video, it’s short and unforgettable):
I cannot suppress the autoplay, and for that reason the video and the rest of the post is below the fold. Apologies.
[Read more…]