(ITUNES OR Listen Here)

We are bringing you pearls from conferences we attend including SMACC (#smaccUS).  The plenary, facilitated by the brilliant Dr. Victoria Brazil, focused on the impaired provider. At SMACC we’ve heard time and time again – we are fallible, we make mistakes.

Dying – Dr. Ashley Shreves

  • What often presume what our patients want without asking them.  When dying patients are asked what they want, it comes down to dignity. 1) Being clean 2) Naming a decision maker and then other top priorities essentially come down to healthcare providers listening [Steinhauser et al]
  • We don’t ask patients about their code statuses appropriately. First, we often spend almost no time doing this.  One study of hospitalists found that code status discussions lasted, on average, one minute. Further, that one minute was spent mostly focused on procedures [Anderson et al]
  • Communicate!

Evidence Based Medicine – The consensus of these cage matches was that evidence isn’t all equal; the existence of data doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good data.

  • The Randomized Control Trial (RCT) has problems – Drs. Paul Young and Simon Finfer
    • Beware the Fragility Index – small effects in RCTs
    • Caution with Base Rate Neglect – we jump to inappropriate conclusions.  For example, pretend you have tested positive for a typically fatal disease.  The test is accurate 95% of the time.  Most people would conclude that there was a 95% chance they have the disease – a death sentence. Yet, one would need to know the prevalence of the disease in the general population to determine the actual likelihood that the test was correct.  If the prevalence of the disease is 1 in 1000, the likelihood that you actually have the disease based on this test is <2%.
  • We should read the primary literature, but we can’t read all of it. Use FOAM (judiciously) – Drs. Rory Spiegel and Ken Milne
    • Due to the volume of literature, we have to make some decisions on what to read (Systematic reviews? Meta-analyses? RCTs? Case Reports?)

Impact Apnea

  • Severe traumatic brain injury can cause apnea which leads to a spiral of hypoxia (and thus cell death) and hypercapnea (with cerebral vasodilation causing cerebral edema) which can result in poor neurologic outcome.
  • The key?  Resuscitate these patients as a hypoxic arrest. These are patients that need an airway and need oxygen.
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