Category Archives: Ped EM Section Columns

Definitions and Debunking Drowning Myths

Chantel Mendes, MD and Jonathan Eisenberg, MD

In my 4th year of medical school, a boy drowned in the lake near my house. It was a shocking event at the time because my perception had been that drowning was a rare tragedy, more abundant and dramatized on television than in reality. However, during my training, I have learned that drowning remains a significant cause of death in children. Although mortality rates have been trending downward in recent years, CDC data from 2019 shows that drowning is still the leading cause of accidental injury death in children aged one to four and remains one of the top three leading causes of accidental injury death in children of all ages over one year. Children under the age of 14 account for one out of every five drowning deaths and there are approximately ten deaths per day due to drowning. It is important to note that these reported numbers relate to mortality rate alone and do not include morbidity from drowning such as neurological deficits or sequelae from a drowning event. The full extent of injury secondary to submersion is difficult to know as data gathering is challenging due to misinformation that persists surrounding drowning among the public, government agencies and even the medical community. read more

Breaking News: Handling Pediatric Orthopedic Trauma

Mark Griffiths, MD, FAAP, FACEP

I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Jill Flanagan, a pediatric orthopedist in Atlanta, to gather her expert opinion on how to handle common issues that present themselves while on shift in the ED. Dr. Flanagan completed her medical school and orthopedic residency at George Washington University School of Medicine, followed by training with the Children’s Orthopedics of Atlanta fellowship program.

Dr. Griffiths: A common complaint we have with many of our college members is the lack of pediatric orthopedic availability on-site combined with the closest pediatric specialist being quite a good distance away from the referring facility. What kinds of fractures can be splinted and addressed at a later time versus those which absolutely need to be transferred that day/night (besides ones that are open or grossly displaced)? read more

2019 EMage Contest First Place Winner: Helluva Uvula

Evan Laveman, MD Emergency Medicine PGY3
Kelly Kelley, MSN, RN, CPNP, CNS
Christopher Redgate, MD, MS, PEM Fellow PGY6

Pediatric Emergency Department, Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA

16-year-old male with no past medical history presented to the Pediatric Emergency Department (PED) for 4 months of nasal congestion worsening over the past month. He immigrated from Honduras with his father 20 days ago and over this time noticed a decreased ability to breath through his nose. Most troubling, he started to develop foul smelling nasal discharge mainly through his left nare. His only medical contact had been at a U.S. clinic when he first arrived where he was prescribed a nasal spray and cetirizine with no relief. He felt moderate sinus pressure but denied weight loss, fevers, chills, headache or vision changes. read more

DON’T BE BASIC—Caustic Ingestions

Jonathan Eisenberg, MD

It would seem a poor idea to take medical advice from non-medical professionals, for example a president with no formal scientific background, in the realm of toxic and caustic ingestions. Although cola soda should be considered caustic, the true dangers lie mostly underneath the kitchen sink and bathroom. Acid and Base ingestions are reported to be in the range of 5-15 thousand cases per year. There is a bimodal distribution of age groups affected—those under 6 year of age making up a large portion and the other being greater than 21 years of age. The pediatric and adult populations generally have different motivations behind the ingestion—exploration versus self-harm—in the vast majority of cases. Given the difference in volumes ingested in accidental cases, children have lower fatality rates than teenagers or adults. The absence of singular severe symptoms (e.g., oral lesions, vomiting, drooling, dysphagia, hematemesis, dyspnea, abdominal pain) does not reliably indicate future injury or pathology but the presence of three or more symptoms is associated with a higher likelihood of significant injury. read more

Firecracker and Blast Injuries

Jonathan Eisenberg, MD

As a child, my father told me a story about his neighbor who had a mishap with a firecracker and blew off the second through fourth digits.  He would then hold out his thumb and pinky and wave to me.  This scared me to such an extent that I still have never lit a firecracker, even during my less frontal lobe-oriented teen years.  I now think that this story was a fabrication—but it is not that far off from its realistic basis.

Fireworks are most popular during the month surrounding July 4th in the US.  These colorful combustibles have been around in the US since July 4th, 1777, and we spend more than $700 million dollars per year on them.  There are many varieties and categories from novelty and daytime fireworks (both generally have smaller explosions) to the larger aerial fireworks and a host of nuanced state laws which allow for an all, some, or none approach to sales. read more