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On August 4, 2020, Beirut experienced a large explosion when 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate detonated in the Beirut port resulting in more than 220 deaths, 76 000 injuries, 300 000 people displaced, and 15 billion dollars loss in property damage. Hôtel-Dieu de France (HDF), one of the largest university hospitals in the capital, has an emergency department that typically accommodates 25 patients. On that night, it received the largest number of injuries and had to accommodate more than 700 casualties within a few hours of the blast. This article describes HDF’s preparedness, emergency response, as well as the distribution of admissions to the emergency department, operation rooms, and the general ward. Surge capacity and the triage system are also detailed.
Successful placement of a peripheral intravenous catheter (PIVC) on the first attempt is an important outcome for difficult vascular access (DVA) patients. This study compared standard technique, ultrasonography (USG), and near-infrared light (NIR) in terms of success in the first attempt in patients with DVA.
This was a prospective, randomized controlled study. The study was conducted in a tertiary care hospital. Emergency department patients who describe DVA history, have no visible or palpable veins, and were assessed by the nurse to have a difficult PIVC were included to study. The PIVC procedure was performed on patients by standard, USG, or NIR device techniques. For all approaches, the success of the first attempt was the primary aim. Total procedure time, the total number of attempts, and the need for rescue intervention were secondary aims.
This study evaluated 270 patients. The first attempt success rates for USG, standard, and NIR methods were 78.9%, 62.2%, and 58.9%, respectively. The rate of first attempt success was higher in patients who underwent USG (USG versus standard, P = .014; USG versus NIR, P = .004; standard versus NIR, P = .648). The total median (IQR) procedure time for USG, standard, and NIR methods was 107 (69-228), 72 (47-134), and 82 (61-163) seconds, respectively. The total procedure time was longer in patients undergoing USG (standard versus USG, P <.001; NIR versus USG, P = .035; standard versus NIR, P = .055). The total median (IQR) number of attempts of USG, standard, and NIR methods were 1 (1-1), 1 (1-2), and 1 (1-2), respectively. A difference was found among the groups regarding the total number of attempts (USG versus NIR, P = .015; USG versus standard P = .108; standard versus NIR, P = .307). No difference was found among groups in terms of the need for rescue methods.
It was found that USG increases the success of the first attempt compared with the standard method and NIR in patients with DVA.
While hospital-related shootings are not common, recent years have demonstrated an increasing trend, especially involving the emergency department (ED). Despite this increase, there remains a lack of effective training for providers for active shooter events. Existing trainings commonly lack active participation, departmental-specific plans, or feasibility.
Sixty-six emergency medicine physicians, nurses, and technicians participated in a two-phased multimodal active shooter training aimed to increase response knowledge and comfort. The initial training phase included a lecture on “Run-Hide-Fight” principles with departmental adaptations, followed by scenario-based discussion, and then safety walkthrough. Months later in the second phase, participants completed an active shooter simulation. An identical knowledge survey was collected before and after each phase along with descriptive analysis. Surveys were compared using paired t-test. Comfort levels were reported on a Likert scale and compared by paired t-test.
Paired t-tests confirmed a statistically significant difference in both active shooter knowledge and comfort levels. Participants showed retention of response knowledge and comfort with implementing response behaviors. Further descriptive analysis demonstrated effective fleeing and barricading, suggesting a real-life gain of knowledge and comfort.
A two-phased, multimodal training design for active shooter response was successful in increasing ED provider active shooter knowledge, comfort, retention, and effective response behaviors.
Considering the pediatric peculiarities and the difficulty of assisting this population in mass-casualty situations, this study aims to identify the main topics regarding children’s health care in mass-casualty incidents (MCIs) that are discussed in the Emergency Medicine area.
This systematic review was performed according to the recommendations of Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and registered with the PROSPERO database of systematic reviews with the number CRD42021229552. The last update of the search in the databases was on May 27, 2021 and resulted in 45 documents to be analyzed. The inclusion criteria included the peer-reviewed academic papers in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian languages; the databases used were PubMed, Scopus, MEDLINE/Bireme (Virtual Library of Health - VLH), and Web of Science, which execute the query on the topic, keywords, or abstracts. Also, to be included, documents that were available with full-text access through CAPES, Google, or Google Scholar. Books, non-academic research, and content in languages other than the presented ones were represented as exclusion criteria.
From the resulting papers, 21 articles served as the basis for this analysis. Revealed were the year of publication, the first author’s institution nationality, topic, and disaster management phase for each study, which allow other researchers to understand the main topics regarding children’s health care in MCIs.
The topics regarding child’s health care in MCIs found in the primary studies of this review, in order of frequency, were: Disaster Response (including the following sub-topics: simulation, education, quality of care, use of technological tools, and damage analysis); Triage; and Disaster Planning. The Emergency Medicine operation was focused on harm reduction after the occurrence of an MCI. Further studies focusing on the pre-disaster and post-disaster phases are needed.
The Saudi Red Crescent Authority (SRCA) plays a major role in the event of disasters and crisis, as it is the main pre-hospital health-care provider. This study reports on the attitude and perceptions of SRCA medical staff concerning their knowledge of disaster management and response.
This is a descriptive cross-sectional study performed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. An Arabic version of the Disaster Preparedness Evaluation Tool (DPET), a self-administered Likert-scale survey, was used to obtain data from SRCA medical staff to evaluate the current status of disaster preparedness.
The population surveyed consisted of 302 participants; 20.9% had participated in a drill exercise or practical application of a regular disaster or emergency plan in their workplaces. Most of participants (85.3%) had incentives to extend their education regarding their role, scope of practice, and skills as medical staff in disaster situations.
Results indicate a lack of regular disaster drills available to prehospital care providers, although most of them are willing to participate in more training and education programs regarding preparedness for disaster management, especially concerning their role in a disaster situation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed significant strain on emergency departments (EDs) that were not designed to care for many patients who may be highly contagious. This report outlines how a busy urban ED was adapted to prepare for COVID-19 via 3 primary interventions: (1) creating an open-air care space in the ambulance bay to cohort, triage, and rapidly test patients with suspected COVID-19, (2) quickly constructing temporary doors on all open treatment rooms, and (3) adapting and expanding the waiting room. This description serves as a model by which other EDs can repurpose their own care spaces to help ensure safety of their patients and health care workers.
This study aims at exploring the dynamics of health-care provision during recent unplanned public mass gatherings in Beirut, and how the health-care system adapts to mass movements in protests.
A qualitative study was conducted using semi-structured interviews with 12 health-care providers who volunteered at medical tents set during protests in Beirut, Lebanon. Responses were transcribed and coded.
Three themes were noted: preparedness and logistics, encountered cases, and participants’ proposed recommendations. In terms of preparedness and logistics, participants lacked knowledge of field medicine protocols and an organizational structure. They faced difficulties in securing equipment and advertising their services. Most encountered cases were physical injuries rather than mental health problems. The participants proposed both short-term recommendations, including advice on how to boost care provided, and long-term recommendations on structuring the health-care system to be better prepared.
On-site health-care provision during unplanned mass gatherings is a vital need. We recommend forming a task force of health-care workers from various fields led by the Ministry of Public Health in every respective country to plan protocols, train personnel, and secure resources beforehand.
Global warming and more intense heat wave periods impact health. Heat illness during heat waves has not been studied in the prehospital setting of a low- and middle-income country (LMIC). Early intervention in the community and in the prehospital setting can improve outcomes. Hence, this paper aims to describe the characteristics of heat illness patients utilizing the ambulance service in Telangana state, India with the aim of optimizing public prevention and first aid strategies and prehospital response to this growing problem.
This retrospective observational study reviewed patients presenting to Telangana’s prehospital emergency care system with heat illness symptoms during the heat wave period from March through June in 2018 and 2019. Descriptive analysis was done on the prehospital, dispatch, and environmental data looking at the patients’ characteristics and prehospital intervention.
There were 295 cases in 2018 and 230 cases in 2019 from March-June. The overall incidence of calls with heat illness symptoms was 1.5 cases per 100,000 people. The Scheduled Tribes (ST) had the highest incidence of 4.5 per 100,000 people. Over 96% were from the white income group (below poverty line) while two percent were from the pink income group (above poverty line). From geospatial mapping of the cases, the highest incidence of calls came from the rural, tribal areas. However, the time to response in rural areas was longer than that in an urban area. Males with an average age of 47 were more likely to be affected. The three most common symptoms recorded by the first responders were vomiting (44.4%), general weakness (28.7%), and diarrhea (15.9%). The three most common medical interventions on scene were oxygen therapy (35.1%), oral rehydration salt (ORS) solution administration (26.9%), and intravenous fluid administration (27.0%), with cold sponging infrequently mentioned.
This descriptive study provides a snapshot of the regions and groups of people most affected by heat illness during heat waves and the heterogeneous symptom presentation and challenges with management in the prehospital setting. These data may aid planning of prehospital resources and preparation of community first responders during heat wave periods.
To describe the perceived qualities of successful palliative care (PC) providers in the emergency department (ED), barriers and facilitators to ED–PC, and clinicians’ perspectives on the future of ED–PC.
This qualitative study using semi-structured interviews was conducted in June–August 2020. Interviews were analyzed via a two-phase Rapid Analysis. The study's primary outcomes (innovations in ED–PC during COVID) are published elsewhere. In this secondary analysis, we examine interviewee responses to broader questions about ED–PC currently and in the future.
PC providers perceived as successful in their work in the ED were described as autonomous, competent, flexible, fast, and fluent in ED language and culture. Barriers to ED–PC integration included the ED environment, lack of access to PC providers at all times, the ED perception of PC, and the lack of a supporting financial model. Facilitators to ED–PC integration included proactive identification of patients who would benefit from PC, ED-focused PC education and tools, PC presence in the ED, and data supporting ED–PC. Increased primary PC education for ED staff, increased automation, and innovative ED–PC models were seen as areas for future growth.
Significance of results
Our findings provide useful information for PC programs considering expanding their ED presence, particularly as this is the first study to our knowledge that examines traits of successful PC providers in the ED environment. Our findings also suggest that, despite growth in the arena of ED–PC, barriers and facilitators remain similar to those identified previously. Future research is needed to evaluate the impact that ED–PC initiatives may have on patient and system outcomes, to identify a financial model to maintain ED–PC integration, and to examine whether perceptions of successful providers align with objective measures of the same.
Although important treatment decisions are made in the Emergency Department (ED), conversations about patients’ goals and values and priorities often do not occur. There is a critical need to improve the frequency of these conversations, so that ED providers can align treatment plans with these goals, values, and priorities. The Serious Illness Conversation Guide has been used in other care settings and has been demonstrated to improve the frequency, quality, and timing of conversations, but it has not been used in the ED setting. Additionally, ED social workers, although integrated into hospital and home-based palliative care, have not been engaged in programs to advance serious illness conversations in the ED. We set out to adapt the Serious Illness Conversation Guide for use in the ED by social workers.
We undertook a four-phase process for the adaptation of the Serious Illness Conversation Guide for use in the ED by social workers. This included simulated testing exercises, pilot testing, and deployment with patients in the ED.
During each phase of the Guide's adaptation, changes were made to reflect both the environment of care (ED) and the clinicians (social workers) that would be using the Guide. A final guide is presented.
Significance of results
This report presents an adapted Serious Illness Conversation Guide for use in the ED by social workers. This Guide may provide a tool that can be used to increase the frequency and quality of serious illness conversations in the ED.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 [SARS-CoV-2]) is a historic pandemic severely impacting health care. This study examines its early effect on a busy academic emergency department.
A retrospective analysis of patients from an academic tertiary care Level I trauma, cardiac and stroke center’s emergency department seeing an average of 54,000 adults and 21,000 pediatric patients per year. Total visits, reasons for patient visits, demographics, disposition, and length of stay were analyzed from January through July 2020 and compared with the same time period in the previous 2 y.
From March through July 2020 there were statistically significant decreases in the total number of patient visits (-47%) especially among pediatric (-73%) and elderly (-43%) patients and those with cardiovascular (-39%), neurological (-63%) complaints, headaches (-60%), back pain (-64%), abdominal pain (-51%), and minor trauma (-71%). There was, however, a significant increase in pulmonary complaints (+54%), as well as admissions (+32%), and length of stay (+40%).
There was a significant drop in overall patients and select groups early in the pandemic, while admissions and emergency department length of stay both increased. This has implications for future pandemic planning.
Global health disasters are on the rise and can occur at any time with little advance warning, necessitating preparation. The authors created a comprehensive evidence-based Emergency Preparedness Training Program focused on long-term retention and sustained learner engagement.
A prospective observational study was conducted of a simulation-based mass casualty event training program designed using an outcomes-based logic model. A total of 25 frontline healthcare workers from multiple hospital sites in the New York metropolitan area participated in an 8-hour immersive workshop. Data was collected from assessments, and surveys provided to participants 3 weeks prior to the workshop, immediately following the workshop, and 3 months after completion of the workshop.
The mean percentage of total knowledge scores improved across pre-workshop, post-workshop and retention (3 months post-workshop) assessments (53.2% vs. 64.8% vs. 67.6%, P < 0.05). Average comfort scores in the core MCI competencies increased across pre-workshop, post-workshop and retention self-assessments (P < 0.01). Of the participants assessed at 3 months retention (n = 14, 56%), 50.0% (n = 7) assisted in updating their hospital’s emergency operations plan and 50.0% (n = 7) pursued further self-directed learning in disaster preparedness medicine.
The use of the logic model provided a transparent framework for the design, implementation, and evaluation of a competency-based EPT program at a single academic center.
Hazardous material (HAZMAT) protocols require health care providers to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for contaminated patients. Multiple levels of PPE exist (level D - level A), providing progressively more protection. Emergent endotracheal intubation (ETI) of victims can become complicated by the cumbersome nature of PPE.
The null hypothesis was tested that there would be no difference in time to successful ETI between providers in different types of PPE.
This randomized controlled trial assessed time to ETI with differing levels of PPE. Participants included 18 senior US Emergency Medicine (EM) residents and attendings, and nine US senior Anesthesiology residents. Each individual performed ETI on a mannequin (Laerdal SimMan Essential; Stavanger, Sweden) wearing the following levels of PPE: universal precautions (UP) controls (nitrile gloves and facemask with shield); partial level C (PC; rubber gloves and a passive air-purifying respirator [APR]); and complete level C (CC; passive APR with an anti-chemical suit). Primary outcome measures were the time in seconds (s) to successful intubation: Time 1 (T1) = inflation of the endotracheal tube (ETT) balloon; Time 2 (T2) = first ventilation. Data were reported as medians with Interquartile Ranges (IQR, 25%-75%) or percentages with 95% Confidence Intervals (95%, CI). Group comparisons were analyzed by Fisher’s Exact Test or Kruskal-Wallis, as appropriate (alpha = 0.017 [three groups], two-tails). Sample size analysis was based upon the power of 80% to detect a difference of 10 seconds between groups at a P = .017; 27 subjects per group would be needed.
All 27 participants completed the study. At T1, there was no statistically significant difference (P = .27) among UP 18.0s (11.5s-19.0s), PC 21.0s (14.0s-23.5s), or CC 17.0s (13.5s-27.5s). For T2, there was also no significant (P = .25) differences among UP 24.0s (17.5s-27.0s), PC 26.0s (21.0s-32.0s), or CC 24.0s (19.5s-33.5s).
There were no statistically significant differences in time to balloon inflation or ventilation. Higher levels of PPE do not appear to increase time to ETI.
Low back pain is a major cause of disability in older adults, and results in many emergency department visits each year. Characteristics of the older back pain population are largely unknown. We conducted a retrospective study to examine the prevalence and patient characteristics for older (≥ 65 years of age) and younger (16–64 years of age) adults presenting with back pain. Study objectives were to describe the characteristics of older adults with back pain presenting to an emergency department and to identify age-group based differences in management. Older adults were most commonly diagnosed with non-specific low back pain (49%). For older adults with this diagnosis, the length of stay was 2.1 times longer (p < 0.001), and odds of being admitted to the hospital were 5.1 times higher (p < 0.001) than for younger adults. Patterns of management are different for younger and older adults with low back pain; this information can be used to direct future resource planning.
Prehospital care is a key component of an emergency care system. Prehospital providers initiate patient care in the field and transition it to the emergency department. Emergency Medicine (EM) specialist training programs are growing rapidly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and future emergency physicians will oversee emergency care systems. Despite this, no standardized prehospital care curriculum exists for physicians in these settings. This report describes the development of a prehospital rotation for an EM residency program in Central Haiti.
Using a conceptual framework, existing prehospital curricula from high-income countries (HICs) were reviewed and adapted to the Haitian context. Didactics covering prehospital care from LMICs were also reviewed and adapted. Regional stakeholders were identified and engaged in the curriculum development.
A one-week long, 40-hour curriculum was developed which included didactic, clinical, evaluation, and assessment components. All senior residents completed the rotation in the first year. Feedback was positive from residents, field sites, and students.
A standardized prehospital rotation for EM residents in Haiti was successfully implemented and well-received. This model of adaptation and local engagement can be applied to other residency programs in low-income countries to increase physician engagement in prehospital care.
New York City was the epicenter of the outbreak of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States. As a large, quaternary care medical center, NYU Langone Medical Center was one of many New York medical centers that experienced an unprecedented influx of patients during this time. Clinical leadership effectively identified, oriented, and rapidly deployed a “COVID Army,” consisting of non-hospitalist physicians, to meet the needs of the patient influx. We share feedback from our providers on our processes and offer specific recommendations for systems experiencing a similar influx in the current and future pandemics.
To assess the experiences and perceived readiness of these physicians (n = 183), we distributed a 32-item survey between March and June of 2020. Thematic analyses and response rates were examined to develop results.
Responses highlighted varying experiences and attitudes of our frontline physicians during an emerging pandemic. Thematic analyses revealed a series of lessons learned, including the need to (1) provide orientations, (2) clarify roles/workflow, (3) balance team workload, (4) keep teams updated on evolving policies, (5) make team members feel valued, and (6) ensure they have necessary tools available.
Lessons from our deployment and assessment are scalable at other institutions.
Central venous catheter (CVC) placement is an important procedure which is frequently performed in the emergency department (ED) and can cause serious complications. The aim of this study is to introduce a simulation-based tissue model for ultrasound (US)-guided central venous access practices and to compare the effectiveness of static and dynamic US techniques through this model.
This was a prospective study on US-guided CVC placement techniques simulated with a chicken tissue model. This model is based on the principle of placing two cylindrical balloons filled with colored water (red for arterial and blue for venous) between a raw chicken breast and wrapping the formed structure with plastic wrap. The study was conducted in an academic tertiary care hospital with Emergency Medicine (EM) residents who have received basic US training, including vascular access procedures. All participants performed simulated CVC placement procedures with both static and dynamic US techniques. At the end of the study, the practitioners were asked to rate usefulness of these techniques between one and ten (one was the lowest and ten was the highest score).
A total of 32 EM residents were included in the study. Their median age was 29 (IQR = 27 - 31) years and 72% of them were male. Their median duration in ED was 19 (IQR = 12 - 34) months. According to the results of simulated CVC placement procedures, there was no significant difference between the static and dynamic US techniques in terms of puncture numbers, procedure durations, and success rates. However, according to the usefulness scores given by the practitioners, the dynamic US technique was found to be more useful (P < .001).
The chicken tissue model is a convenient tool for simulating US-guided CVC placement procedures. The dynamic US technique is considered to be more useful in this field than the static technique, but the results of practitioner-dependent practices may not always support this generalization.
Music festivals are popular events often including camping at the festival site. A mix of music, alcohol, drugs, and limited hygiene increases health risks. This study aimed to assess the use of medical supplies at a major music festival, thereby aiding planning at similar events in the future.
The Medical Health Care Organization (MHCO) at Roskilde Festival 2016 (Denmark) collected prospective data on disposable medical supply use and injuries and illnesses presenting to the MHCO.
A total of 12,830 patient presentations were registered by the MHCO and a total of 104 different types of disposable medical supplies were used by the MHCO from June 25, 2016 through July 3, 2016. Out of 12,830 cases, 594 individuals (4.6%) had a potential or manifest medical emergency, 6,670 (52.0%) presented with minor injuries, and 5,566 (43.4%) presented with minor illnesses. The overall patient presentation rate (PPR) was 99.0/1,000 attendees and the transport-to-hospital rate (TTHR) was 2.1/1,000 attendees. For medical emergencies, the most frequently used supplies were aluminum rescue blankets (n = 627), non-rebreather masks (n = 121), and suction catheters for an automatic suction unit (ASU) for airway management (n = 83). Most used diagnostic equipment were blood glucose test strips (n = 1,155), electrocardiogram electrodes (n = 960), and urinary test strips (n = 400). The most frequently used personal protection equipment were non-sterile gloves (n = 1,185 pairs) and sterile gloves (n = 189).
This study demonstrates a substantial use of disposable medical supplies at a major music festival. The results provide aid for planning similar mass-gathering (MG) events.
Emergency medicine specialists working in the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health public hospitals are assigned voluntarily or compulsorily along the Turkey-Syria borderline due to the operational conditions. In accordance with this study’s purpose, methods and overcoming problems of emergency medical specialists working at border points are addressed.
Materials and Methods:
The case study design is used as a qualitative research method in this research. Within the context of content analysis, 2 themes and 7 subthemes are created in line with the identified subproblems. Under these themes, the problems experienced by physicians, solutions to them, and recommendations for physicians who will start to work along the borderline are presented with codes and anecdotes.
The results of the study indicate that the problems experienced by physicians working in the border regions are centred on environmental conditions, operation of the system, and security issues. The methods for coping with such problems focus on effective communication and the support of colleagues. The basic suggestion of the participating physicians to improve the system is that the emergency medical specialists who run the border service should undergo training that can be useful for adapting to war conditions. Despite experiencing personal and familial challenges, these physicians express that they feel happy and at peace in their work.
For the physicians assigned to work along the borderlines, high efficiency can be obtained if they are given preassignment training and provided with effective personal communication combined with personal rights adjustment.
Mass casualty incidents (MCIs) have gained increasing attention in recent years due multiple high-profile events. MCI preparedness improves the outcomes of trauma victims, both in the hospital and prehospital settings. Yet most MCI protocols are designed for high-income countries, even though the burden of mass casualty incidents is greater in low-resource settings.
Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM), a 300-bed academic teaching hospital in central Haiti, developed MCI protocols in an iterative process after a large MCI in 2014. Frequent MCIs from road traffic collisions allowed protocol refinement over time. HUM’s protocols outline communication plans, triage, schematics for reorganization of the emergency department, clear delineation of human resources, patient identification systems, supply chain solutions, and security measures for MCIs. Given limited resources, protocol components are all low-cost or cost-neutral. Unique adaptations include the use of 1) social messaging for communication, 2) mass casualty carts for rapid deployment of supplies, and 3) stickers for patient identification, templated orders, and communication between providers.
These low-cost solutions facilitate a systematic response to MCIs in a resource-limited environment and help providers focus on patient care. These interventions were well received by staff and are a potential model for other hospitals in similar settings.