SMACC (general)

Reflecting on 26 years of frontline practice in paediatric emergency care: while there’s no substitute for knowledge and experience, I can see some common themes to failing to spot a sick child. By sick, I mean injuries and illness that need hospital attention or hospitalisation. This talk tries to draw from all those errors I’ve both made and seen, into a couple of easy-to-apply mantras.

Physiology matters. It really does. Scrutinising a full set of observations/vitals (in the context of the child’s age) will help avoid our feared crime: discharging a sick child. And how to deal with fever, as a confounding factor.

Psychology matters. It really does. Talks on PEM are always popular because as EM physicians, we’re insecure about mismanaging a child. Are children precious? Are adults just big children? Therein lies the problem. Less knowledge, less experience, less confidence? Yes? Then there's less Type 1 thinking.
We’ll talk about the risks in needing to rely more upon Type 2 thinking. How to deal with the time-poor resuscitation situation. How to avoid denial. What makes some staff be over-confident with children (hint - type 2 thinking is hard work!). What stops us applying our usual filters (eg risk stratification).

Finally, I can signpost more specific help with developing your PEM skills, which can be found at www.spottingthesickchild.com , an eLearning package containing hours of videos of real-life cases, endorsed by the NHS in the UK, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N35J3NLJW_s , a 10-minute podcast also endorsed by the NHS.

Direct download: Ffion_Davies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am AEST

In sub-Saharan Africa, where infectious diseases and nutritional deficiencies are common, severe anaemia is a common cause of paediatric hospital admission, yet the evidence to support current treatment recommendations is limited. The TRansfusion and TReatment of severe Anaemia in African Children: (TRACT ISRCTN84086586) is a 3x2x2 factorial controlled trial involving 3954 children (aged 2m to 12y) with severe anaemia (haemoglobin <6g/dl). The trial has been designed to address the poor outcomes following SA in children in sub-Saharan Africa, which is associated with high rates of in-hospital mortality (9-10%), 6-month case fatality (12%) and relapse or re-hospitalisation (6%) indicating that the current recommendations and/or management strategies are not working in practice. Hospitalised children will be enrolled at 4 centres in 2 countries (Malawi, Uganda) and followed for 6 months. TRACT trial is designed to answer 4 simple questions. Q1 and 2: which children should receive a transfusion (since current guidelines recommend transfusions only in children with a Hb <4g/dl (or <6g/dl if accompanied by complications)); and how volume to transfuse in each transfusion event?. Q3 and 4: Since the major factors related to poor longer term outcome are micronutrient deficiencies and sepsis would post-discharge multi-vitamin multi-mineral supplementation versus routine care (folate and iron) for 3 months and/or cotrimoxazole prophylaxis for 3 months versus no prophylaxis improve outcome and prevent relapse. Primary outcome is cumulative mortality to 4 weeks for the transfusion strategy comparisons, and to 6 months for the nutritional support/antibiotic prophylaxis comparisons.
If confirmed by the trial, a cheap and widely available ‘bundle’ of effective interventions could lead to, if widely implemented, substantial reductions in mortality in African children hospitalised with severe anaemia every year. The trial started in Sept 2014 and currently 2700 children have been enrolled. We expect the trial results to be available in 2017.

Direct download: Kath_Maitland.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am AEST

As patients becomes more complex, the tribal systems we use to look after them remain stuck in the 18th Century when the treatment for everything was amputation and, if you survived, leeches. The large modern hospital is becoming a battleground of competing SODs* and SONs** practising their art in a multi-organ (failure) world. Many staff lack acute medical skills; those with such expertise are siloed far away from the ward in emergency departments, operating theatres and ICUs. Despite disease not knowing or caring what time it is, all hospitals remain solar powered with minimal nocturnal on-site expertise. As nursing & medical staff move more towards rotating rosters where no-one knows more than a single-sentence-summary of their patient’s complex physiological, pathological & pharmacological needs, an ever-present vigilant family member may become the only hope of surviving any acute admission.

The two most dangerous words in healthcare may well be ‘_my_ patient’.
Come listen to a middle-aged intensivist rant about how things were so much better ‘back in the day’*** and bask in the utopian dream of a healthcare system that provides better, safer, patient-centred care.

*Single Organ Doctor
**Single Organ Nurse
***they weren’t

Direct download: Alex_Psirides.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am AEST

Cops and robbers, cowboy and Indians, and military movies have filled the minds of generations of healthcare providers with a vision of what gun fights and combat look like. Unfortunately, real violence looks nothing like any of these. As emergency and critical care providers, we forge additional perspectives as we care for the victims of violence. Yet, views of violence aftermath only scratch the surface of first-hand experience during the brutal, scary, gritty, and dirty realities of real world in-progress violence. It is horrible, and It is quick… really quick.

In this focused discussion, we will talk about prehospital critical care team response to the mass shooting. We will explore how emotional and physiological barriers run amok making the simplest logistical and clinical decisions extremely difficult. We will discuss the importance of staying” left of bang”, incident recognition, initial confusion, and the critical nature of incident acceptance. Next we will review staff and patient safety priorities and basic concepts of tactical combat casualty care (TCCC). Finally, we will conclude with thoughts about your role as care provider when on duty as part of a pre-formed team, and what to do if off duty facing an active shooter.

Today is the day to ponder actions you must take the moment an active shooter begins taking lives at an astonishing rate; THAT moment when the choices you make next will be the most important of your career. The choices you make today will affect the milliseconds and millimeters that determine survival… patient survival, your survival, and the survival of those waiting at home for you to walk back through the door.

Direct download: Anthony_Baca.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am AEST

Scott Weingart discusses Post-Intubation Sedation.

Direct download: Scott_Weingart_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am AEST

All biomarkers are awesome predictors of badness. Elevated hS-troponins after non-cardiac surgery or an acute exacerbation of COPD are associated with increased mortality. In seemingly healthy people elevated D-dimer levels are associated with increased mortality, just like NT-proBNP levels predict mortality in patients with end-stage renal disease.

A biomarker, in its broadest sense, is defined as ” a characteristic that is objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biological processes, pathogenic processes, or pharmacologic responses to a therapeutic intervention” (NIH Biomarkers Definitions Working group, 2001). This definition includes everything from laboratory tests to blood pressure measurements or an ultrasound scan. The clinical assessment in the emergency department is based on the subjective history of the patient in combination with all available biomarkers and their change over time. Yet the notion that biomarkers are ”objectively measured” can lead to an overestimation of their individual importance in the bigger clinical picture.

Overtesting and overdiagnosis have serious consequences not only for patients, but also for the health care system. In a clinical context the ease of getting a laboratory test leads to a lower threshold for testing, which has been shown to increase testing without affecting relevant clinical endpoints. Also, when a biomarker becomes part of the standardized workup for a certain symptom, primary care centers and emergency telephone services will refer patients to the emergency department for testing, even when the pretest probability is low.

This bias is not an inherent problem of biomarkers themselves, but of the decision making process of clinicians. The human brain fears uncertainty, and anything that adds to the feeling of knowing is rewarding, which is the most probable explanation of overtesting in settings where medico-legal risks for the clinicians are low. The ever increasing numbers of patients seeking emergency care to rule out serious conditions is a development driven by medical professionals and is fueled by the perceived increased certainty provided by biomarker testing.

Direct download: Katrin_Hruska.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am AEST

The vocabulary of elite teams is changing. Understanding the roots of grit, resilience and poise under pressure requires a deep dive into the challenging, sometimes ugly world of our emotions, fear, anxiety and expectations. This is the good news: the science of human performance has evolved as well, and offers insight on how to train for a focused and enlightened team mindset. Emotional regulation, environmental manipulation, stress inoculation, mental preparation -- these are the concepts that define the new resuscitative collective unconscious. In this session, we will discuss how the science of human performance and psychology can inform the development of expert teams, from heart rate and tactical breathing to emotional valence and cortisol surges.

Direct download: Chris_Hicks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am AEST

Our attempts to improve safety and quality in healthcare have tended to focus on learning from error. Intuitively, this seems like a good idea: if we make a mistake, we would like to learn why it happened and how to stop it happening again. But errors only occur in a minority of clinical encounters, so our focus is quite narrow. We may be missing learning opportunities from the episodes when things have gone very well. Furthermore, by focussing entirely on learning from adverse events, we run the risk of creating a culture of negativity, fear and avoidance. In this presentation, I will challenge the deficit-based approach to learning (i.e. learning from error) as the sole instrument to improve quality. I will also introduce the following concepts: our innate negativity bias - why we can't help spotting errors, and why tend to overvalue their significance; the second victim phenomenon; Safety-2; intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation; and Appreciative Inquiry. I will describe a complementary approach to learning in healthcare: Learning from Excellence, and how our team established an Excellence Reporting system in our intensive care unit.
www.learningfromexcellence.com @adrianplunkett

Direct download: Adrian_Plunkett.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am AEST

Is there a specific time during our shift when we are too fatigued to safety practice? That was the question that led to a research project comparing the clinical performance of providers during the first hour of a day shift and the final hour of a string of night shifts. These providers were pulled out of their real-time clinical duties and video-taped while performing simulated critical care cases. The hypothesis was that the day shift providers would out-perform the night shift, but the opposite proved true. Blinded reviewers assigned the day shift providers lower performance scores and noticed some surprising medical errors committed during these simulated cases.
So are we “awake” when we come to work? Should some type of case-based warm up exercise be encouraged just prior to a shift? Also, upon reviewing the data, it was found that the majority of the providers studied had been off the day prior to their morning shift. Jan Paderewski, a famous pianist said, “If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days, the audience notices it.” Perhaps clinicians, similar to others who are elite in their field, truly need daily practice or some type of deliberate exercise prior to a shift to perform at the highest levels of care. How can we determine when we are not at our maximum level of mental sharpness during a shift? Can anything be done to improve our abilities in real time?
This lecture will review the available literature surrounding mental fatigue and critical care based shift work and focus on techniques both before and during shifts to recognize and potentially mitigate any clinical sluggishness and improve patient care.

Direct download: Jo_Anna_Leuck.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am AEST

Ah, but you don't look like a professor! A recent statement from a (female) patient says it all, doesn't it?

Since the first women were admitted to medical schools – quite a while ago in most countries, the participation of women in clinical and academic medicine has increased steadily. Overall, women represent the majority of health care workers and also medical students in most countries of the world today. SMACC audience is almost 50% female.
However, only few women make it to the top, and with each step up the career ladder, the proportion of women decreases substantially, a phenomenon called the “glass ceiling” or the „leaky pipeline“. This is particularly true for some medical specialties such as critical care or trauma surgery, as opposed to specialties like endocrinology, pediatrics or gynecology. Although often subtle, gender discrimination against women continues to be a problem – for instance, it has been shown that a ficticious student named “John” would receive a higher salary and find a mentor easier than “Jennifer”. A manuscript written by “John” is judged more favourably than one that is authored by “Joan”, and female grant applicants with the same scientific productivity are given substantially lower scores than male applicants by reviewers (men and women). Sheryl Sandberg’s statements are as true in clinical and academic medicine as in other areas.
This talk will definitely raise your awareness for the topic.

Direct download: Karin_Amrein_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am AEST