All posts by TheTraumaPro

Figure It Out! The Answer

Several readers emailed the correct answer yesterday. The picture is a child with a bicycle handlebar injury to the epigastrium. The plastic grip over the end of the handlebar has a small hole in the middle leaving the distinctive mark seen in the photo.

Children are more likely to sustain significant injuries from this mechanism because they have little muscle in their abdominal wall, so it can’t protect as well as it does in adults. Everything between the handlebar and the spine gets crushed together, frequently resulting in serious injury.

Possible injuries include:

  • Pancreatic injury / transection
  • Liver laceration (left lobe)
  • Duodenal injury / hematoma
  • Retrohepatic vena cava injury

I’ve listed them in what I believe to be the usual order. The literature varies a bit because there aren’t a lot of series published. In this case, the injury was a pancreatic transection.

Bottom line: Handlebar injuries in children (and to a lesser degree, adults) are a significant marker for serious abdominal injury. CT scan is mandatory to find the diagnosis. Proper management of a pancreatic injury is a good topic for a future post!

Figure It Out!

Here’s a test of your observational skills and trauma knowledge. This picture tells you everything you need to know. What happened, and what’s the likely diagnosis?

Answer tomorrow!

Source: Private archive. Patient not treated at Regions Hospital

How Do You Dress YOUR Trauma Team?

Over the years, I’ve seen the trauma teams at quite a few hospitals in action. One thing I have noticed is that most just don’t pay attention to what they wear. I’m talking about wearing personal protective equipment again. It’s one of those things, like hand washing, that everyone knows that they are supposed to do.

There are two reasons to put all that stuff on:

  • To keep potentially contaminated body fluids from getting on you
  • To prevent you from contaminating your patient’s open wounds

The minimum equipment that MUST be worn is a cap of some sort (to keep your hair from falling on the patient), mask and eye protection (mucus membrane protection), gown (protects your clothes), and gloves (obvious). Shoe protection is optional, in my opinion, unless you wear Christian Louboutin to work.

So you’ve been lax with your team. How do you get them to put everything on now? It’s like getting your child to wear a bicycle helmet when they are fourteen.

  • Create an expectation that everyone wear it and empower everyone to point it out. No exceptions. Physicians, this means you.
  • Put all equipment just outside the trauma room door. The farther away it is, the less likely it is to be used.
  • Assign an enforcer. Everyone entering the room must be dressed, or this person will speak up. Ideally, they should be a physician. If not, one of the docs must back this person up.
  • Occasionally, a badly hurt patient gets rolled into the room with little advance notice. In this case the fully dressed people need to relieve those who are not as soon as they dress and walk into the room.

The top picture shows part of our trauma team assembling before a trauma activation. Everyone is dressed. They know that someone will call them on it if they aren’t. Also, note the little pink sticker on the chest of physician at the head of the bed. We have a sticker for every role in the room (bottom picture). At the beginning of a resuscitation I scan the room to make sure everyone has one. It helps identify everyone and makes extraneous personnel stand out so they can be asked to leave the room.

Bottom line: Everyone has to wear their personal protective equipment on every trauma resuscitation. No exceptions.

Related post:

Best Of: Forensic Nursing

Forensic Nursing combines nursing science with the investigation of injuries or deaths that involve accidents, abuse, violence or criminal activity. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE nurses) are one of the most recognized types of forensic nurses, but they have special training in one type of injury. Forensic nursing programs typically involve a broader set of skills, encompassing some or all of the following:

  • Interpersonal violence, including domestic violence, child and elder abuse/neglect, psychological abuse
  • Forensic mental health
  • Correctional nursing
  • Legal nurse consulting
  • Emergency/trauma services, including auto and pedestrian accidents, traumatic injuries, suicide attempts, work-related injuries, disasters
  • Patient care facility issues, including accidents/injuries/neglect, inappropriate treatments & meds
  • Public health and safety, including environmental hazards, alcohol and drug abuse, food and drug tampering, illegal abortion practices, epidemiology, and organ donation
  • Death investigation, including homicides, suicides, suspicious or accidental deaths, and mass disasters

Forensic nurses find that their additional training improves their basic nursing skills, and allows them to derive greater career satisfaction from helping patient in another rather unique way.

Approximately 37 training programs exist, ranging from certificate programs that require a specific number of hours of training, to degree programs (typically Masters level programs). Many of the certificate programs are available as online training. 

Source: International Association of Forensic Nurses (http://www.iafn.org/)