Category: Toxicology

Suspected Contamination Incident – HAZMAT

So a patient comes to ED after white powder thrown is at them what do you do? Your initial response can help them and everyone in the department!

  1. Ask them to leave the department
    • Going to garage was useful
    • Inform Nurse in Charge and Consultant
  2. Dynamic risk assessment
    • Performed by nursing/medical staff while outside
  3. Decontaminate
    • Non-caustic chemicals: Dry decontamination
    • Caustic, Biological, Radiological: Wet decontamination
    • Retain clothing and wipes,  double bagged as evidence/disposal
  4. Return to ED

If you haven’t seen the Initial Operational Response (IOR) training video please watch it.

The patient can then be thoroughly assesses, to identify the substance involved (this may involve witnesses, police info and symptomatology), and treated appropriately.

Police should be informed of the incident for several reasons: 1. Public safety, 2. To collect the evidence and possible find out what it was for you. (if this is not a criminal act Public health England can advise on return/disposal of personal effects)

Inform Manager On-Call of incident as it may disrupt the functioning of ED and can provide support.

 

Patient symptom-free and substance unknown

In our recent case Public Health England advised

  • 4-6hr observation
  • Discharge with advice:
    • “if developing symptoms to return to the ED via ambulance but the patient must be aware that they must inform 999 of the original exposure.”

Resourses

Alcohol Withdrawl

Generally we DON’T admit patients acutely solely for “Detox”

However the following groups should be admitted [taken from trust guide]

  • Patients requiring admission for another reason – refer to appropriate specialty (e.g.  Head injury going to CDU, or Upper GI bleed going to medicine)
  • ALL patients with symptoms / signs of Wernicke’s – medicine
  • ALL patients with Delirium Tremens – medicine
  • ALL alcohol withdrawal fits if patient to remain abstinent – medicine
  • ALL alcohol related seizures with possible other trigger – medicnie
  • ALL decompensated alcoholic liver disease – medicine

If admitted to CDU – complete the PAT tool

Read more

Drugs & Alcohol misuse in young people

Ending up in the ED as a result of alcohol and or substance use is NOT normal behaviour

  • Children who use alcohol or other substances are hugely vulnerable to sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse.
  • The use of alcohol or drugs can be encouraged as part of the grooming process, or as a means of coping with a difficult situation for the young person.
  • It is also likely that friends and close acquaintances of the young person are equally vulnerable.

Read more

LA – Toxicity

We are regularly doing femoral blocks next to major vessels. So warn the patient of the symptoms, & keep them monitored(at least 15 min).

Symptoms of local anaesthetic toxicity

  • Circumoral and/or tongue numbness
  • Metallic taste
  • Lightheadedness/Dizziness
  • Visual/Auditory disturbances (blurred vision/tinnitus)
  • Confused/Drowsiness/Fitting
  • Arrhythmia

Remember – Do basics WELL

  • Intralipid – in emergency drug cupboard

PDF:la_tox