How Doctors Determine the Moment of Death

From Scientific American:

Knowing when someone’s alive and knowing when someone’s dead: it’s one of the most important jobs that doctors do. If we can’t do that, we can’t do anything.

The person must have an apnea test. Then you can prove to yourself that the whole brain, including the brainstem, is gone. Just remember, when you take a patient off a ventilator, either for an apnea test or after a declaration of death, make sure that family members are out of sight, and forewarn the nurses. Many brain dead patients, once the ventilator is removed, exhibit the so-called Lazarus sign, where their arms spontaneously contract and their hands come up to their chest as though they’re grasping for the endotracheal tube. It’s creepy no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

Health IT Use Could Affect Physicians’ Capacity To See Patients

From iHealthBeat:

The study found that physicians used a mean of 5.1 health IT services. The most commonly used health IT service was electronic prescribing, while a Web portal for patients to schedule appointments was the least common.

Overall, 83% of respondents said they anticipated having the capacity to accept new patients in the future.

However, the study showed that the odds of physicians who reported having the capacity to accept new patients decreased by 14% with each additional health IT system used.

Mobile Tech to Help Hospitals’ Interpretation Services

From Hospitals and Health Networks:

Health care organizations, such as Ellis Medicine in Schenectady, N.Y., have looked to leverage mobile technology to vastly improve language interpretation. As recently as May, the 438-bed community and teaching health care system often was forced to call in interpreters, who could sometimes take as long as two hours to arrive. Plus, they regularly would charge a minimum of two hours pay when five minutes was all that was needed to do the job.

Now, the hospital can dial up an interpreter for 11 languages on video using a tablet — along with about 100 more available with no video feed — and pay by the minute. That’s allowed the system to deliver quicker care and save about $100,000 in the first full year of its use, says Lance Merry, patient access manager. The program originally was conceived as a six-month pilot starting in June. But system leaders saw the benefits, and are moving full-steam ahead with 75 tablets spread across all units from the ED to physician offices.

Iowa State troopers using new app to help crash victims

From KCRG:

Iowa State troopers are using a relatively new app to help emergency room staff at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics prepare for incoming crash victims. The app, known as the TraumaHawk, lets troopers securely send photos and information about crashes from the scene to the emergency room in a matter of seconds. It was developed by a team of researchers at the University of Iowa.

VetiGel, A Plant-Based Gel That Can Stop Bleeding in 20 Seconds When Applied to a Wound

From Laughing Squid:

VetiGel is a gel created by Brooklyn-based biotech startup Suneris that is made from plant-based polymers that are able to stop bleeding in 20 seconds when applied to a wound, working in congress with the human body’s natural healing processes.

Designer Drug 25B-NBOMe Use Likely to Land Overdose Cases in Your Emergency Department

From ACEP Now:

The novel, synthetic, psychoactive substance 25B-NBOMe is one such compound. It was first synthesized in 2004 in Germany by Ralf Heim.4 25B-NBOMe is also known by the names 2C-B-NBOMe, Cimbi-36, and 25-B. It is one of the NBOMe class of N-methoxybenzyl-substituted phenethylamine derivatives, similar to the 2C class of illicit hallucinogenic phenethylamines. Other NBOMe compounds include 25I-NBOMe and 25C-NBOMe, commonly known as 25-I and 25-C.

Abuse of these substances and reports of adverse reactions have increased.3 Their toxicology is not well-studied, and the dearth of literature complicates the clinician’s task of identifying and treating their toxicity.