ED evacuated after patient presents having ingested chemical from a science lab

From ABC:

A man has died after ingesting a dangerous chemical in an incident that saw the emergency department at Newcastle’s Mater Hospital evacuated.

Police say the 32-year-old man swallowed the chemical in the science laboratories at Newcastle University.

When he arrived at the Mater Hospital, concerns were raised about the volatility of the chemical and the fire brigade’s hazmat unit was called in.

Iowa Hospitals Encouraged to Promote Organ Donation

From the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA):

IHA is partnering with the Iowa Donor Network (IDN) to encourage Iowa hospitals to participate in the Workplace Partnership for Life Hospital Campaign.  The campaign challenges hospitals to educate all employees and the communities they serve about the crucial need for organ, eye and tissue donation and encourage employees and community members to register as donors.

Specifically, IHA is asking hospitals to do two things.  First, encourage employees to register as organ donors at the Iowa Donor Registry.  The hospital should ask employees to name their hospital in the “in honor of” portion of their registration; this will allow IHA to track the number of new registrations coming from hospitals and measure the success of the campaign.  IHA’s goal is for each hospital to increase its registration by a number equal to 10 percent of its total employee pool.

Hospitals can promote registration among employees in a number of ways, but one effective approach is “Give 5-Save Lives.”  This strategy involves the hospital setting aside a series of brief, informative, five-minute sessions to give each employee the opportunity to learn more about organ and tissue donation and to make registration quick and convenient for you.

Hospitals are also asked to join IHA in flying the “Donate Life” flag for the entire month of April, which is National Organ Donor Awareness Month.  Hospitals that do not have a flag or need a new one should contact Jennifer Houtman(515/727-7897) at IDN.

IHA has created a resource page on its website to help hospitals promote organ donation and implement Give 5-Save Lives.  The resource page includes fact sheets about organ donation and downloadable templates for both internal and external letters, e-mails and newsletter articles.  Campaign logos, posters and other graphics can also be downloaded from the resource page.

Simulation Drives Innovation in Teaching, Learning, and Clinical Practice

From Emergency Medicine News (hat tip: Dr. Menadue):

The university’s emergency medicine residency faculty was asked to supplement the students’ experience with a unique docent program where students would enhance their history-taking, physical examination, and critical decision-making skills via original patient scenarios and case presentations. The number of students rotating through the ED had grown so large that it was no longer feasible to provide the activity there; it was time to integrate more sophisticated education via the simulation center.

The students’ experience grew richer as they practiced basic airway management, splinting, intraosseous infusion, suturing, needle decompression, and spine immobilization using the anatomical models and the simulators. The PA and medical students were then taken to a simulator to work through a clinical presentation in tandem with these labs. While these simulators came with prepackaged case presentations that were programmed into the computer system, the faculty created its own scenarios more geared to the nuances of emergency medicine and the myriad factors that can complicate any patient encounter.

Binge Drinking in College Runs Up Big ED Tab

From MedPage Today:

The price tag for emergency department visits associated with college campus drinking sprees tops $500,000 a year at large colleges and universities, researchers found.

And more than half of those visits involved heavy-drinking students who had no memory of ‘partying,’ they reported online in Health Affairs.

A review of two years of medical records from students at five universities revealed that more than half of the emergency department visits during that period were due to drinking episodes in which students hadn’t passed out but couldn’t remember what happened, Marlon P. Mundt, PhD, and Larissa I. Zakletskaia, MA, both of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Hospital: Woman Strips in ER

From the Cartersvile Patch:

An emergency room patient got more than medical treatment during a late night visit to the hospital.

It was criminal treatment for 36-year-old Betty Sue Huling, an Efficiency Lodge resident who allegedly refused to leave Cartersville Medical Center after she had been discharged.

Hospital workers called law enforcement authorities shortly before 12:30 a.m. Wednesday to report Huling would not leave the facility and was “disrobing” in the emergency room area.

Medicaid Patients Struggle to Get Primary Care, Visit ERs More

From the American College of Emergency Physicians (press release):

Twice as many people insured by Medicaid as by private insurance report barriers to primary care and Medicaid patients are twice as likely to visit the emergency department as their privately insured counterparts, according to a study published online yesterday in Annals of Emergency Medicine (“National Study of Barriers to Timely Primary Care and Emergency Department Utilization Among Medicaid Beneficiaries”)

“Even those Medicaid patients who have primary care physicians – and that is less likely than for people with private insurance – report significant barriers to seeing their doctor,” said senior author Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, FACEP, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, Colo. “Medicaid patients tend to visit the ER more, partly because they tend to be in poorer health overall. But they also visit the ER more because they can’t see their primary care provider in a timely fashion or at all.” 

The study authors analyzed 230,238 adult responses to the 1999-2009 National Health Interview Survey for an association between barriers to primary care and use of the emergency department. Overall, 16.3 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries had one or more barriers to primary care, compared to 8.9 percent of people with private insurance. More than one-third (39.6 percent) of Medicaid patients visited the ER within the last year versus 17.7 percent of privately insured patients. 

“Our findings are particularly worrisome in light of the additional 16 million people who will be added to the Medicaid rolls over the next decade,” said Dr. Ginde. “The shortage of primary care providers in the U.S. seems to affect Medicaid patients disproportionately and more harshly.” 

Even comparing patients with barriers to primary care side by side, Medicaid beneficiaries were still more likely to visit the emergency department than those with private insurance (61.2 percent v. 28.9 percent for patients with two or more barriers to primary care). Barriers included not being able to reach a doctor by phone, not being able to get a timely appointment and lack of transportation to the doctor’s office. 

“The efforts by some states to keep Medicaid patients out of the ER do not take this lack of access to primary care into account,” said David Seaberg, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “It puts both patients and providers into an impossible position that will only get worse as more people enroll in Medicaid.”