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Cartoon: That Moment When You Realize Your Child Took Your Emergency Training Very Literally

How Are Medical Personnel Involved In Search And Rescue Missions?

This is another post derived from a presentation given at the 2011 Annual Summer Meeting of the Wilderness Medical Society. Aaron Billin delivered an excellent lecture on search and rescue.

Search and rescue has been defined a few different ways. Two definitions are: “the use of available resources to assist persons or property in potential or actual distress” and “an operation to retrieve persons in distress, provide for their initial medical or other needs, and deliver them to a place of safety.” Search and rescue types are mountain rescue, combat search and rescue, air-sea rescue, urban search and rescue, and ground search and rescue.

Organized search and rescue is the responsibility of national arks, state parks, county sheriffs, state conservation officers, or state police. Most search and rescue missions are carried out by volunteer groups. Ninety percent of all rescues involve Read more »

This post, How Are Medical Personnel Involved In Search And Rescue Missions?, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Article Details The Best Uses Of Epinephrine For Severe Allergic Reactions

For management of a serious (even life-threatening) allergic reaction, I have been teaching adults to administer epinephrine (adrenaline) by injection for years. This can be a lifesaving intervention. The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) community now concurs that EMS personnel should be trained to recognize a serious allergic reaction and be allowed to administer epinephrine. In a recent issue of the journal Prehospital Emergency Care (2011;15:570-576), there is an article by Jacobsen and Millin entitled “The Use of Epinephrine for Out-of-Hospital Treatment of Anaphylaxis: Resource Document for the National Association of EMS Physicians Position Statement” that details the use of epinephrine for this purpose.

The major new thrust of this document is to highlight the fact that the intramuscular (IM, directly into the muscle) injection route of administration is preferred, rather than the traditional primary recommendation to inject into the tissue space just under the skin layers (“subcutaneous”). This is because injection into the muscle tissue results in smoother and more reliable drug absorption, with higher peak therapeutic levels of the drug achieved sooner than with subcutaneous injection. The lateral thigh is often used for the IM injection; the outer upper arm is most commonly used for the subcutaneous injection. In an “autoinjector pen” used to administer epinephrine (often referred to by the brand name “EpiPen”), the needle may not be long enough to reach the muscle tissue of a large and/or obese person. However, if the epinephrine is injected into the subcutaneous tissue, it will in all likelihood still be effective, albeit perhaps not as quickly following the injection.

Here is advice about how to give epinephrine for a severe allergic reaction: Read more »

This post, Article Details The Best Uses Of Epinephrine For Severe Allergic Reactions, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Overwhelmed ERs Continue To Rise To The Challenge

Last night I was contacted by a physician in the local urgent-care.   I like him, and we made polite, but brief, conversation.  ‘So, are you guys busy?’

I gave him the status report.  ‘Well, yeah.  We have about 25 people waiting to be seen the waiting room is full and every patient room is full.  Also, we just received a gun-shot wound to the head by EMS.’

‘Wow, sounds terrible!  So, here’s what I need to send you…’

What he sent was, in fact, reasonable.  A young woman with signs and symptoms of meningitis (who was treated earlier in the day for and upper respiratory virus…with Amoxicillin, of course.)

She needed a lumbar puncture, which I performed and which was  negative.

But I had this thought.  I could probably have said, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

Recognizing Different Arrhythmias: There’s An App For That

The recognition and management of cardiac arrhythmias is a must-have clinical skill for residents and physicians, and one that is often not well-taught at some institutions.

For example, deciding whether a patient is in a shockable rhythm, realizing what medications should or should not be given in a particular situation, or assessing the degree of atrioventricular block, can all be important considerations in patient care.

The Arrhythmias app, designed by Abe Balsamo, recently cracked the Top 10 list of most-downloaded medical apps in the app store.  This app represents Mr. Balsamo’s first foray into the app world, though he has several other apps in development, according to his website  The app’s growing popularity has been driven by its point-of-care abilities that appeal to healthcare professionals, especially emergency medical personnel.

Read below the jump to see how the Arrhythmias app can assist healthcare professionals with the recognition of different arrhythmias. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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