Will legalizing marijuana increase the burden on the Pediatric Emergency Department?

Some states have already legalized marijuana and others are likely to follow.  This is a hot topic of discussion in Washington DC.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently reaffirmed its position on keeping marijuana illegal “http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Reaffirms-Opposition-to-Legalizing-Marijuana-for-Recreational-or-Medical-Use.aspx“, while the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has a more tolerant view on this subject by suggesting that a more responsible use of marijuana might be expected if legalization were to be considered, as suggested in the the article here: “http://www.acepnow.com/article/legalizing-marijuana-will-make-safer/ read more

What’s on your mind?

HPI: A 15 year old female with a history of ADHD and anxiety was brought into the emergency department by her parents with concern for a change in mental status. The patient had been seen at an outside facility the day prior to presentation for a separate diagnostic workup

She had complained of dizziness that day, and some subtle shaking of her left upper extremity.  Mom and patient were not initially concerned since the patient had been known to have shaking of her legs at baseline. After returning home from her appointment, the patient fell asleep on the couch and did not awaken for the remainder of the evening. On the morning of presentation, mom reports that she was still unable to awaken the patient. The patient was very weak and had difficulty bearing her own weight.  Her speech was noted to be slurred and largely unintelligible. read more

Surround Yourself with Artists.

3 year old Jimmy was excited when he saw his Daddy’s truck coming up the driveway.  The subtle bump as the giant 4×4 ran over Jimmy’s abdomen was almost missed, but Jimmy’s cry was heard by dad in the cab and mom in the house.  He was awake and alert, boarded and collared as our trauma team descended.  The large tire tread mark over his abdomen was the only obvious injury as we pounced upon him masked and gloved, with hands palpating, scissors tearing and IVs plunging.  As I peered down all forehead and nose to his view he looked back with terror.  Calmly, quietly I did my best to explain in terms a 3 year old would understand the action unfolding.  He was being incredibly brave as I assessed him.  As I tried to illicit any other injuries I asked, “Jimmy what hurts?”  He looked straight up into my eyes and responded, “Being run over by daddy’s truck.” read more

The Armchair ED.

armchair physician

It’s a busy day in the ED.  Thirty deep in the waiting room.  Patients are threatening to leave.  Staffing is short.  Your colleagues are dying for help and you are the one who gets the call to pitch in and lend a hand.  With a heavy sigh, you flop on the sofa, flip open your lap top, and start seeing patients.

Future fantasy?  It is not as farfetched as you might think.  Although the medical industry is often maligned as being a slow moving monolith resistant to adaptation, there are a slew of groups, both academic and commercial, looking into bringing telemedicine to the mainstream. read more