CritCases 5 – Pediatric Drowning and Hypothermia

In this CritCases blog - a collaboration between STARS Air Ambulance Service, Mike Betzner and EM Cases, Dr. Michael Misch discusses the management controversies around a challenging pediatric drowning and hypothermia case, including the nuances of rewarming, oxygenation, CPR or no CPR, the role of ECMO, dosing of epinephrine and more...

Episode 87 – Alcohol Withdrawal and Delerium Tremens: Diagnosis and Management

Alcohol withdrawal is everywhere. We see over half a million patients in U.S. EDs for alcohol withdrawal every year. Despite these huge volumes of patients and the diagnosis of alcohol withdrawal seeming relatively straightforward, it’s actually missed more often than we’d like to admit, being confused with things like drug intoxication or sepsis. Or it’s not even on our radar when an older patient presents with delirium. What’s even more surprising is that even if we do nail the diagnosis, observational studies show that in general, alcohol withdrawal is poorly treated. So, to help you become masters of alcohol withdrawal management, our guest experts on this podcast are Dr. Bjug Borgundvaag, an ED doc and researcher with a special interest in emergency alcohol related illness and the director of Schwartz-Reismann Emergency Medicine Institute, Dr. Mel Kahan, an addictions specialist for more than 20 years who’s written hundreds of papers and books on alcohol related illness, and the medical director of the substance use service at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, and Dr. Sara Gray, ED-intensivist at St. Michael's Hospital...

WTBS 10 – EM Quality Assurance Part 2: Individual Responsibilities

Last month in introducing part one of our guest blog on quality assurance I told a story about a missed opportunity with follow-up care. This month I’d like to share a story with a happier ending. Recently, a patient presented at our emergency department (ED) with a non-specific fever. After discharge the patient’s blood cultures were reported positive, but attempts to reach this person over the ensuing 36 hours at the contact numbers provided were unsuccessful. An enterprising colleague googled the patient and found contact information online that eventually led to a call to the patient in a hotel room in another city, but when reached the patient was ill and confused...

Best Case Ever 50 – Delirium Tremens

In anticipation of EM Cases Episode 87 on Alcohol Withdrawal Dr. Sara Gray describes her Best Case Ever of severe alcohol withdrawal and Delirium Tremens from Janus General. Also on this podcast Dr. Anand Swaminathan reacts to Episode 86 Emergency Management of Hyperkalemia and discusses the use of calcium in the setting of digoxin toxicity. Early recognition and treatment of Delirium Tremens - a rapid onset of severe alcohol withdrawal accompanied by delirium and autonomic instability about 3-10 days after the appearance of withdrawal symptoms - is key to preventing long term morbidity and mortality...

Episode 86 – Emergency Management of Hyperkalemia

This is 'A Nuanced Approach to Emergency Management of Hyperkalemia' on EM Cases. Of all the electrolyte emergencies, hyperkalemia is the one that has the greatest potential to lead to cardiac arrest. And so, early in my EM training I learned to get the patient on a monitor, ensure IV access, order up an ECG, bombard the patient with a cocktail of kayexalate, calcium, insulin, B-agonists, bicarb, fluids and furosemide, and get the patient admitted, maybe with some dialysis to boot. Little did I know that some of these therapies were based on theory alone while others were based on a few small poorly done studies. It turns out that some of these therapies may cause more harm than good, and that precisely when and how to give these therapies to optimize patient outcomes is still not really known...

WTBS 9 – EM Quality Assurance Part One: Improving Follow up from the ED

This is Waiting to Be Seen 9 on EM Cases - Improving Follow up From the ED, Quality Assurance Part 1. We all face the challenge of how to manage final reports that arrive after the patient has been admitted or discharged, but some EDs are more organized and diligent than others in systematically addressing their obligations in this area. In this two-part guest blog, Dr. Lucas Chartier, an emergency physician in Toronto, will discuss best practices in departmental organization in part one and the obligations of the individual physician in part two. No ED will ever be perfect, but there are some positive lessons to share and we likely all can do better in reducing risks related to test result follow-up.