I’ve been too busy to blog literature updates for a couple of weeks since I and my colleagues have been flat out running a two week training course in prehospital and retrieval medicine.
Our Helicopter Emergency Medical Service physicians and paramedics care for a wide range of adult and paediatric trauma and critical care patients in some challenging environments. We therefore need to provide a fairly comprehensive induction course for new recruits.
The new guys did us proud. They just need to stay this awesome.
Something I’ve been teaching for years – but never actually done – has been described in a case report from Oman.
A 2 year old child suffered a respiratory arrest due to an inhaled foreign body, which led to a bradyasystolic cardiac arrest. She was intubated by the resuscitation team who could not achieve any ventilation through the tube. The tube was removed and reinserted by an ‘expert’ (there is no mention of capnometry, for what it’s worth) and the same problem persisted.
The life-saving manouevre was to insert the tracheal tube further down into the right main bronchus and then withdraw to the trachea. This forced the obstructing object distally so that one-lung ventilation was then possible, resulting in return of spontaneous circulation and oxygen saturations in the mid-80’s. The object – a broken piece of plastic – was removed bronchoscopically and happily the child made an uneventful recovery.
Is this technique in your list of life-saving tricks? Hopefully, it is now.
A child is alive because a doctor was able to ‘think outside the guidelines’ in an incredibly high pressure situation. Rigid adherence to ACLS procedures here would have been futile. The guidelines save lives, but a few more can be saved when care can be individualised to the clinical situation by a thinking clinician.