“Triage” is French for “to sort.” It developed as a concept on the battlefield as a way to address injured soldiers and ensure that care was provided to those most in need. In the emergency department, triage is usually the responsibility of a trained, experienced nurse. Patients present to the emergency department, the nurse obtains a history and may perform a cursory ...

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Can someone please tell me the exact moment when fleece pajama bottoms became the fashion sensibility of America? I can't pinpoint the moment exactly, but several years ago I began to notice that many of our ER patients were presenting for treatment wearing nice fluffy fleece bottoms. Men. Women. Old. Young. These fleece bottoms seemed to be enjoyed by a variety of the population. Most of these earlier bottoms for the ...

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One day while on shift in the emergency department, I looked out into the waiting room at the dozens of people waiting to be seen.  Many had been waiting for hours. Some looked bored. Others appeared agitated by the long wait time. One thing that nearly all of them had in common, though, was the presence of a smartphone within arms reach.  I wondered, rather than spending their time mindlessly ...

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Like many pediatric intensivists, I care from time to time for victims of child abuse in the form of what is often called “shaken baby syndrome.” This syndrome is a characteristic constellation of finds that happen when a strong person grasps a child around the chest and aggressively shakes the infant. It was first described by Caffey, a pediatric radiologist, fifty years ago. The baby may have ...

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I am an obstetrician-gynecologist, and my favorite show is Grey’s Anatomy. I dare say I have not missed an episode since I started watching in 2006 (as a busy obstetrician, multiple shows are watched on DVR). I fell in love with the show when, at random, I ended up watching the final episode of the second season when Izzie (a physician character from the earlier seasons) fell in love with Denny, ...

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This notice appeared on a general surgery news website in early February. I don’t know who has been long anticipating this, but I’m pretty sure it’s not people on medical Twitter. My informal, nonscientific Twitter poll garnered 707 votes with 87 percent of those responding saying they would not allow their residents to participate in a reality television show. Many of those who ...

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I became a nurse at the age of 23. I was pregnant with my first son and dove into nursing headfirst, accepting a job in the pediatric ICU of the hospital where I worked. I still remember the call when I received the job offer. I hung up and jumped up and down, screaming in excitement. I couldn’t believe that I got my dream job, the job that wove my ...

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A young male patient checks into the emergency department (ED) and is brought back to a room for an ankle injury he suffered the day before. He states that he twisted it while doing some indoor rock climbing and tells the triage nurse that it is swollen and tender, but that he can walk on it. His vital signs are registered, and he is brought back to a room where ...

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The heavy young man curled on his left side is in the ER for a pain in his backside. The sweaty blue dragon on his chest smells like fear. “It’s an abscess. I’ll have to open it. It’s gonna hurt.” “Can you put me to sleep? I hate pain.” I can. Should I? Remember Michael Jackson? I do. His neck would make a Hereford bull proud; he’s missing a chin but he’s got a ...

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I was working a few days ago and pulled a tooth.  Mind you, it’s not something I do with any regularity.  However, it was a very sweet little lady who was too weak and ill to get to the dentist and had other issues.  That lower incisor was loose, and constantly in the way. Furthermore, it was painful. I had seen her for something else in the emergency department.  I took ...

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