Elderly Psychosis and Agitation

This case is written by Drs. Nicole Kester-Green and Jen Riley. Dr. Kester-Greene is a staff physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in the Department of Emergency Services and an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine. She has completed a simulation educators training course at Harvard Centre for Medical Simulation and is currently Director of Emergency Medicine Simulation at Sunnybrook. Dr. Riley is a staff emergency physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and assistant professor at the University of Toronto.  Her areas of interest are in simulation and medical technology, with a focus on developing programs and curriculum for trainees and faculty both in medicine and allied health professions.

Why it Matters

Patients who present to the ED with agitation can be very challenging to manage. It is particularly difficult when the patient clearly lacks capacity and is unable to respond appropriately to any simple commands. In these situations, ensuring the safety of both the patient and staff members becomes the primary goal. This case highlights, specifically:

  • That chemical restraint should always be used if physical restraints are to be used
  • The challenges to assessing a patient who is clearly unwell when that patient is not cooperative
  • The role security plays in ensuring a safe patient care experience

A Note on Safety

Pre-briefing is always an important component of simulation. For this case, it is essential that the pre-briefing takes a little extra time so that the safety of everyone involved is reviewed. The case is designed so that physical restraints are only placed once the standardized patient is traded for a mannequin. Regardless, both the standardized patient and the sim participants should be briefed on the use of simulated restraint. It is essential that a safe word like “time out” is pre-determined in case any participants are feeling unsafe at any point in the case. This would immediately halt the case. Similarly, instructors must be watching closely for safety and cut the scenario if they feel anyone may be harmed. We advocate for having security participate in this case as learners. However, briefing security that they should not use the restraints on the standardized patient would also help ensure safety.

Clinical Vignette

The charge nurse comes to you: “There is a 68 year old woman in the seclusion room. She was observed pacing and acting bizarre at the bus stop. EMS managed to talk her into ambulance. On route she told them her neighbour is trying to poison her. Initially, she was calm but now she is starting to get agitated. She doesn’t have any previous psych admissions in the system. We couldn’t get any vital signs.

Case Summary

A 68-year old woman is found at a bus stop exhibiting bizarre behaviour. She is brought to the ED by paramedics. In the ED, she is expressing paranoid delusions. Her agitation escalates and does not respond to verbal de-escalation or an overwhelming show of force. She will require physical and chemical sedation to facilitate the work-up for her new onset psychosis.

Download the case here: Elderly psychosis and agitation

ECG for the case found here:

normal-sinus-rhythm

(ECG source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/normal-sinus-rhythm/)

Non-Accidental Trauma

This case is written by Dr. Suzan Schneeweiss. She is a staff physician at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and is the Director of Education for the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Why it Matters

The differential diagnosis for any sick neonate is always broad. This case, in particular, addresses the differential diagnosis and management of a seizing neonate. It highlights the following:

  • The need for anti-epileptics in a neonate with seizures in the context of trauma
  • The importance of including a septic work-up and broad antibiotic/antiviral coverage in the management of a seizing neonate
  • The need to consider non-accidental injury

Clinical Vignette

A 1 month-old male is brought into the ED due to poor feeding and lethargy. The baby was apparently well until this morning, when his mom noticed it was difficult to wake and feed him. There has been no fever. The baby vomited once this morning, and is voiding and stooling normally.

The nurse in triage notices abnormal movements and brings the baby in to your team in the resuscitation room.

Case Summary

The team has been called to help in the ED after a 1 month-old male is brought in seizing. The team is expected to manage the seizure, but then will subsequently realize on examination there are concerning signs for non-accidental trauma, specifically head injury. The team will be expected to establish definitive airway management and consult with PICU and local child protection services.

Download the case here: Non-Accidental Trauma

CXR for the case found here:

neonatal pneumonia

(CXR source: https://radiopaedia.org/articles/neonatal-pneumonia)

 

Pediatric Viral Myocarditis

This case is written by Dr. Adam Cheng. Adam Cheng, MD, FRCPC is Associate Professor, Departments of Paediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary.  He is also Scientist, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and Director, KidSIM-ASPIRE Simulation Research Program, Alberta Children’s Hospital.  Adam is passionate about cardiac arrest, resuscitation, simulation-based education and debriefing. The case has been modified by Drs. Dawn Lim, Andrea Somers, and Nadia Farooki for use at the University of Toronto.

Why it Matters

Myocarditis is a presentation that can be challenging to recognize early. It is often mistaken simply for septic shock. This case highlights some important features of the recognition and management of myocarditis, including:

  • The need to re-evaluate the differential in a patient with persistent hypotension
  • The role of bedside tests in aiding the diagnosis (ECG, POCUS, CXR)
  • The importance of re-evaluating and re-assessing a patient and adjusting the differential diagnosis and management accordingly

Clinical Vignette

You are working in a large community ED. The charge nurse tells you: “EMS have just arrived with a 15-year old boy with shortness of breath and chest pain. His O2 sat is low. EMS have administered oxygen and IVF en route. He looks unwell so I put him in a resuscitation room. Can you see him immediately?”

Case Summary

A 15 year-old male with no prior medical history is brought to the ED by his parents for lethargy, shortness of breath and chest pain. He was feeling run down for the past 4 days with URTI symptoms.

His initial presentation looks like sepsis with a secondary bacterial pneumonia. He becomes hypoxic requiring intubation. He develops hypotension that does not respond as expected to fluids and vasopressors, which should prompt more diagnostics from the team.

Further testing reveals cardiomyopathy with reduced EF and acute CHF. He finally stabilizes with inotropes and diuresis.

 

Download the case here: Pediatric Viral Myocarditis

ECG for the case found here:

sinus-tachy-non-specific-ST-changes

(ECG source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/myocarditis/)

CXR for the case found here:

cardiomegaly CHF

(CXR source: https://www.med-ed.virginia.edu/courses/rad/cxr/postquestions/posttest.html)

Cardiac U/S for the case found here:

Parasternal Long

(U/S source: http://www.thepocusatlas.com/echo/xg2awokhx1zx8q3ndwjju5cu4t1adq)

Lung U/S for the case found here:

B lines

(U/S source: https://www.thoracic.org/professionals/clinical-resources/critical-care/clinical-education/quick-hits/orthopnea-in-a-patient-with-doxorubicin-exposure.php)

Pediatric Difficult Airway

This case is written by Dr. Jonathan Pirie. He is a staff physician in the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. Dr. Pirie is also the Director of Simulation for Pediatric Emergency Medicine and the Simulation Fellowship program. His simulation interests include development of core curricula for postgraduate training programs, in-situ team training, and mastery learning with competency based simulation for trainees and faculty in pediatric technical skills and resuscitation.

Why it Matters

While croup makes stridor a relatively common presentation in the Pediatric ED, today it is quite rare to have a child with stridor who requires definitive airway management. It is exceedingly rare for an Emergency physician to need to proceed to cricothyroidotomy on a child. This case highlights the following:

  • The initial management steps for a child with undifferentiated, severe stridor
  • The need to call for help early
  • The steps required for a needle cricothyroidotomy and the equipment necessary to ventilate a child after this procedure is performed

Clinical Vignette

You are working in the ED, and your team has been called urgently to see a 2-year-old old boy with difficulty breathing. The patient was brought in by his mother, who states he’s had a 2-day history of runny nose. Today he developed a barking cough with fever, and is “breathing with a funny noise.”

Case Summary

The ED team is called to manage a 2-year-old boy in severe respiratory distress with stridor and hypoxia. Initial management steps (humidified O2, nebulized epinephrine and dexamethasone) fail to improve the patient’s respiratory status, and the team must prepare for a difficult intubation. They will encounter difficulties with both bagging and passing the endotracheal tube due to airway edema, which will necessitate an emergency needle cricothyroidotomy.

Download the case here: Pediatric Difficult Airway

Iron Overdose in a Pregnant Patient

This case is written by Dr. Kate Hayman (@hayman_kate) and Dr. Dawn Lim (@curious doc). Dr. Hayman (MD MPH FRCPC) is an emergency physician at University Health Network and an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. Her interests are in health equity, advocacy education, and the use of simulation in low-resource settings.

Why it Matters

Iron toxicity is a relatively rare presentation to the ED. Familiarity with its presentation can be vital to recognizing this potentially lethal overdose. This case highlights the following:

  • The presenting features of moderate to severe iron toxicity
  • The fact that prenatal vitamins contain ferrous fumarate
  • When chelation therapy is indicated for an iron overdose

Clinical Vignette

You are working in a large community ED. You are called to a resuscitation room where EMS has just brought in a 29-year woman with altered mental status. Her boyfriend called 9-1-1 when he found her confused this morning. She is 10 weeks pregnant and had some vomiting and diarrhea yesterday. Her boyfriend is in the waiting room.

Case Summary

A 29-year old woman with a history of depression and an early unplanned pregnancy is found at home with decreased level of consciousness. She comes to the ED with EMS and her boyfriend. She remains altered in the resuscitation room and declines despite aggressive resuscitation.

After gathering history from the boyfriend, it seems likely that she has ingested a large quantity of pre-natal vitamins resulting in iron toxicity. This is confirmed on bloodwork and imaging. She will require airway management, hemodynamic support and specific chelation therapy.

Download the case here: Pregnant Iron OD

AXR for the case found here:

Toxicology_Iron_Tablets-936x1024

(AXR source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/top-ten-foreign-bodies/)

CXR for the case found here:

post-ETT-CXR

(CXR source: http://jetem.org/ettcxr/)

Abdominal U/S showing IUP for the case found here:

IUP

(U/S source: https://radiologykey.com/first-trimester-pregnancy/)

FAST for the case found here:

Untitled

(U/S source: http://www.emergencyultrasoundteaching.com)

Pelvic U/S for the case found here:

Untitled2

(U/S source: http://www.emergencyultrasoundteaching.com)

Electrical Storm

This case is written by Dr. Peter Dieckmann and Dr. Marcus Rall of the TuPASS Centre for Safety and Patient Simulation in Germany.

Why it Matters

Electrical Storm is a rare complication of a cardiac arrest. When it is present, the typical therapies for aborting VF are not sufficient. This case reviews the tailored management of this situation, including:

Clinical Vignette

“Arrest arriving in 1 minute. Doctor to resuscitation room STAT.

Paramedic report: “This is a 55 year old male we picked up at an office tower down the street. Apparently he was complaining of feeling unwell all morning and then collapsed at lunch. A colleague started CPR and we were called. The AED delivered 3 shocks. His colleagues say he’s healthy and they’re unsure about meds or allergies. His boss called his wife and she’s on her way.” CPR is ongoing.”

Case Summary

A 55 year-old male is brought to the emergency department with absent vital signs. He collapsed at his office after complaining of feeling unwell. CPR was started by a colleague and continued by EMS. He received 3 shocks by an AED. His downtime is approximately 10 minutes. The team is expected to perform routine ACLS care. When the patient remains in VF despite ACLS management, the team will need to consider specific therapies, such as iv beta blockade or dual sequential shock, in order to abort the electrical storm.

Download the case here: Electrical Storm

Cardiac U/S for the case found here:

(Ultrasound image courtesy of McMaster PoCUS Subspecialty Training Program)

ECG for the case found here:

(ECG source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/anterior-stemi/)

CXR for the case found here:

Normal Post-Intubation CXR

(CXR source: https://emcow.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/normal-intubation2.jpg)

Intubation with Missing BVM

This case is written by Drs. Andrew Petrosoniak and Nicole Kester-Greene. Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak is an emergency physician and trauma team leader at St. Michael’s Hospital. He’s an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and an associate scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.  Dr. Nicole Kester-Greene is a staff physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in the Department of Emergency Services and an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine. She has completed a simulation educators training course at Harvard Centre for Medical Simulation and is currently Director of Emergency Medicine Simulation at Sunnybrook.

Why it Matters

Emergency medicine is about anticipating the worst and preparing for it . This case highlights this perfectly. In particular, it emphasizes:

  • The need to have a mental (or physical) checklist to ensure all necessary equipment is available at the bedside before starting a procedure
  • The complex nature of managing an immunocompromised patient with respiratory illness
  • The role for intubation in a hypoxic patient

Clinical Vignette

You are working in a large community ED. The triage nurse tells you that she has just put a patient in the resuscitation room. He is a 41-year old man with HIV. He is known to be non-compliant with his anti-retrovirals. He noticed progressive shortness of breath over 3-4 days and has had a dry cough for 10 days. His O2 sat was in the 80s at triage.

Case Summary

A 41-year old male with HIV (not on treatment) presents to the ED with a cough for 10 days, progressive dyspnea and fever. He is hypoxic at triage and brought immediately to the resuscitation room. He has transient improvement on oxygen but then has progressive worsening of his hypoxia and dyspnea. Intubation is required. The team needs to prepare for RSI and identify that the BVM is missing from the room prior to intubation.

Download the case here: Intubation with Missing BVM

CXR for the case found here:

PJP pneumonia

(CXR source: https://radiopaedia.org/cases/35823)

 

Anaphylaxis and Medication Error

This case is written by Dr. Kyla Caners. She is a staff emergency physician in Hamilton, Ontario and the Simulation Director of McMaster University’s FRCP-EM program. She is also one of the Editors-in-Chief here at EmSimCases.

Why it Matters

Anaphylaxis is a very common presentation to the ED. Knowing how to treat it expediently is essential. This case is designed to review common errors made by junior learners in the emergency department. In particular, it reviews:

  • The need to prioritize epinephrine above all other medications
  • The IM dosing of epinephrine
  • The need to understand the different concentrations of epinephrine available and how to avoid medication errors that occur as a result

Clinical Vignette

Report from EMS:

“This patient was recently prescribed Levofloxacin for a presumed pneumonia by his family MD. Approximately one hour after his first dose he developed a diffuse pruritic rash and felt acutely dyspneic. He denies any chest pain, syncope, fever or diaphoresis. He has not had Levofloxacin prior and there is no previous history of this. The highest SBP we could get was 90 by palp. Heart rate has been around 100. We’ve been unable to get an IV. Epi 0.5 IM x 1 has been given.”

Case Summary

A 59-year-old male presents to the ED with anaphylaxis. He has already received a dose of epinephrine by EMS. On arrival, he will be wheezing and hypotensive with angioedema. Learners will be expected to provide repeat dosing of epinephrine as well as to start an epinephrine infusion in order for the patient to improve. They will also be expected to prepare for intubation. To highlight common errors in anaphylaxis treatment, a nurse will delay giving epinephrine unless specifically instructed to give it before other medications. The nurse will also attempt to give the cardiac epinephrine, requiring the team leader to clarify proper dosing. Once an epinephrine infusion has started, the patient’s angioedema and breathing will improve.

Download the case here: Anaphylaxis

Chest Pain on the Ward

This case is written by Dr. Kyla Caners. She is a staff emergency physician in Hamilton, Ontario and the Simulation Director of McMaster University’s FRCP-EM program. She is also one of the Editors-in-Chief here at EmSimCases.

Why it Matters

When learners are transitioning to residency, they are often fearful of what feels like a sudden increase in responsibility. A big fear that is common among trainees is the idea that they might be left alone to treat something urgent or beyond their skill level. This case was designed to help alleviate some of those fears. The debriefing should focus on local resources available to learners when they feel alone in the middle of the night. The point of the case is to show them they’re not alone. In particular, this case highlights:

  • How to handle a call from the ward about a patient in distress (get things started while on your way to the ward!)
  • The work-up for an admitted patient with chest pain (and how treatment can change quickly!)
  • The senior-level resources available to learners overnight (ICU outreach, anesthesia, the senior resident, their attending over the phone, etc) and when learners should make certain to call their superiors

A Special Note

To make this case particularly realistic, we recommend using your local charting system to create a patient note that can be given to learners. If you use an EMR, then print out what an admission note would look like. If you use paper charting, then handwrite an admission note for learners to review!

Clinical Vignette

You are the junior medical resident on call overnight covering for a team of patients you do not know. You get a page from a nurse on the ward: “one of my patients is having chest pain…can you come and see him?”

*Note: the first part of this scenario is actually done best over the phone. Have the learner stand outside the room and call them on their cell phone.

Case Summary

The case will begin with a phone call from the bedside nurse for a patient on the ward that the resident on call is covering. The resident will then arrive at the bedside to find a patient complaining of significant chest pain. The patient will be in some respiratory distress due to CHF. The patient’s initial ECG will show new T-wave inversion. The patient will prompt regarding ongoing chest pain and his ECG will evolve to show an anterolateral STEMI. The team is expected to recognize the evolving STEMI and initiate treatment and cath lab activation.

Download the case here: Chest Pain on the Ward

“Old” ECG for the case found here:

(ECG source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/normal-sinus-rhythm/)

Initial ECG on the ward found here:

001 Anterior TWI

(ECG source: http://hqmeded-ecg.blogspot.ca/2015/12/lvh-with-anterior-st-elevation-when-is.html)

Repeat ECG on the ward found here:

003 anterolateral STEMI

(ECG source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/anterior-stemi/)

CXR for the case found here:

(CXR source: https://www.med-ed.virginia.edu/courses/rad/cxr/web%20images/into-chf.jpg)

PE with Bleeding

This case is written by Dr. Donika Orlich. She is a staff physician practising in the Greater Toronto Area. She completed both her Emergency Medicine training and Clinician Educator Diploma at McMaster University.

Why it Matters

Many simulation cases that deal with pulmonary embolism seem to focus on the decision to administer thrombolytics (usually upon a patient’s arrest). This case is different. While the team must administer thrombolytics to a patient with known pulmonary embolism, the catch is that they must then also recognize shock as a result of intra-abdominal bleeding. As a result, the case highlights the following:

  • The dose of thrombolytics to be used in the context of cardiac arrest
  • The importance of an approach to undifferentiated shock after ROSC. (It’s not all cardiogenic!)
  • That bleeding is a complication of thrombolysis. This is drilled into our brains as the major complication, but somehow it is diagnostically challenging to recognize.

Clinical Vignette

You are called urgently to the bedside of a patient who is in the Emergency Department awaiting medicine consultation. Your colleague saw her earlier. She is 63 years old and has a CT-confirmed pulmonary embolism. She had presented with shortness of breath on exertion in the context of a recent hysterectomy 4 weeks ago. She has been stable in the ED until she got up to go to the bathroom and suddenly developed severe shortness of breath.

Case Summary

A 63-year-old female is in the Emergency Department awaiting internal medicine consultation for a diagnosed pulmonary embolism. She suddenly becomes very short of breath while walking to the bathroom and the team is called to assess. The patent will then arrest, necessitating thrombolysis. After ROSC, she will stabilize briefly but then develop increasing vasopressor requirements. The team will need to work through the shock differential diagnosis and recognize free fluid in the abdomen as a complication of thrombolysis requiring surgical consultation and transfusion.

Download the case here: PE with Bleeding

ECG for the case found here:

Massive PE ECG

(ECG source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/pulmonary-embolism/)

Initial CXR for the case found here:

normal female CXR radiopedia

(CXR source: https://radiopaedia.org/cases/normal-chest-radiograph-female-1)

Post-intubation CXR for the case found here:

normal-intubation2

(CXR source: https://emcow.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/normal-intubation2.jpg)

Pericardial ultrasound for the case found here:

Normal lung ultrasound for the case found here:

Abdominal free fluid ultrasound for the case found here:

RUQ FF

(All ultrasound images are courtesy of McMaster PoCUS Subspecialty Training Program.)