Current Topics

Until All The Pieces Fit

As a pre-hospital care provider, on average, you are seven times more likely to encounter a patient diagnosed with autism.  It is not one condition, but rather a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and non-verbal communication.  As a result, these patients can present to EMS providers with unique assessment and management challenges.  This presentation will explain the autism spectrum as well as certain notable characteristics of these patients to consider when performing an assessment and rendering medical treatment.

Target Audience:  Can be used for all levels

It Ain’t Easy Being Wheezy: Pediatric Status Asthmaticus

Severe asthma is becoming more prevalent in American children, and mortality has risen sharply in the past decade. Any EMS professional may be faced with the asthmatic child in severe respiratory distress or impending respiratory failure that has not been relieved with their usual bronchodilator therapy. These scary patients need more aggressive treatment than what is usually required and this discussion will show you how to do just that at the basic and advanced levels of care.

Target Audience:  All levels

Postpartum Emergencies

Postpartum emergencies often include headache, eclampsia, infection, heart failure, and hypertension.  Failure to recognize and treat these conditions can lead to disastrous consequences for the patient, including stroke, permanent brain damage, or death.  This presentation will discuss the various types of emergencies to be aware of and how to manage these patients in the pre-hospital environment.

Target Audience:  Can be used for all levels

Pediatric Chest Pain

Children and adolescents complaining of chest pain is a commonly encountered problem. Although alarming to parents, chest pain in children typically is not caused by a serious disease, unlike adults, which raises a concern for myocardial ischemia. Pediatric chest pain can be classified broadly into cardiac or non-cardiac chest pain. Non-cardiac chest pain is, by far, the most common cause of chest pain in children and adolescents. This presentation will help the EMS professional properly assess and deferentially diagnose these types of patients.

Target Audience:  Can be used for all levels, slightly more towards Advanced providers

Thwacks, Whacks, Cracks and Smacks

Sports-related concussions are serious, widely prevalent, and often under-reported traumatic brain injuries.  This presentation discusses the pathophysiology and sequelae of concussion as well as proper identification, evaluation and patient management.  Severe, moderate and even mild concussions have a high potential for significant long-term deleterious effects on an athlete.  Extensive anatomical and physiological damage may be present from just one traumatic blow to the head.  Advocating for an athlete to sit out the rest of an event by knowing the signs and symptoms specific to concussion may be the difference between a decent versus a terrible outcome.

Target Audience:  Can be used for all levels

Pediatric Capnography

This presentation highlights uses for capnography in pediatric patients in the pre-hospital setting. Uses include confirmation of intubation, maintenance of ventilation in intubated and non-intubated children, monitoring of effectiveness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and as an adjunct for monitoring of sedated children and children with lower respiratory disease, shock and metabolic derangements.

Target Audience:  All levels, slightly toward the Advanced level

Medical Disorders of the Comic and Cartoon World

Who doesn’t love cartoons or comic books?  We all have our favorite characters, from the darkest, fastest, and strongest to the ones with their goofy mannerisms, weird antics and wacky physical movements.  They always have us in splits, making us long for more. But, what would it be like for a real person to have their traits? Dig a little deeper, and it actually looks like these characters have certain medical disorders. This presentation will look at some of our beloved characters and describe their physical and psychological disorders.

Target Audience:  All levels

The Wolves in Sheep Clothing

Sepsis is a common clinical syndrome caused by an unchecked inflammatory response to infection. Several diseases closely resemble a septic presentation by mimicking its clinical pathophysiology.  If these various conditions are not taken into consideration while examining a patient with a potential diagnosis of sepsis, there is a higher potential for increased mortality and morbidity.  This presentation will explain what mimics you should evaluate for, and what history and physical exam findings that can assist you differentiating these conditions from sepsis.

Target Audience:  All levels

Stretched, Stabbed and Strangled: Traumatic Neck Injuries

Managing injuries to the neck can be both complex and challenging for the pre-hospital provider, as it is the location for many vital structures. Many of these structural injuries carry with them a high probability of morbidity and mortality. Whether the injury is blunt or penetrating, the EMS provider must maintain a high index of suspicion even if the patient appears to have only minor superficial injuries. This presentation will discuss the anatomy of the neck, zones of neck injury, and management strategies to assist the EMS professional maintain a high index of suspicion and deliver optimal care for victims of neck trauma.

Target Audience:  All levels

The Sick AMI Patient

Cardiogenic shock secondary to myocardial malfunction has serious consequences for any patient experiencing an AMI.  This presentation explains the causes, pathophysiology and mechanics behind the development of cardiogenic shock as well as the current treatments for these patients in the pre-hospital setting.

Target Audience:  All levels, slightly more toward Advanced providers

Russian Roulette – The American Way

Parents do not know that inhalants – cheap, legal and accessible products, are as popular as marijuana. Even fewer know the deadly effects the poisons in these products have on the brain and body when inhaled.  It’s like playing Russian Roulette – the user can die the 1st, 10th or 100th time a product is misused.  This presentation will explain the pathophysiology of various gases, nitrites, volatile substances and other information you need to know about this deadly underground problem affecting teens and pre-teens.

Target Audience:  All levels – good General session as well

When The Bite Is Worse Than The Bark

Thousands of snakebite cases are reported every year in the United States. A bite from a venomous snake is rarely deadly, but should always be treated as a medical emergency.  Most of these types of bites produce an array of symptoms, including localized pain, swelling, convulsions, nausea and even paralysis.  This presentation will describe the common types of snakes, the pathophysiology of their venom and what we as EMS providers need to do for these patients.

Target Audience:  Can be used for all levels

Trachs and Tubes and Shunts, Oh My! Technology for Special Needs Children

Most EMS training teaches us how to deal with the “average” patient.  Due to advances in medical technology and more plentiful support services, children who have suffered critical injuries and those with unique disease states are being cared for at home more than ever.  This presentation will explain the most common equipment and technology that pre-hospital providers will encounter when caring for these patients.

Target Audience:  All levels/NCCP for Special Healthcare Needs

Picasso, Judy Garland and Indiana Jones all walk into a bar….

This presentation will describe the organic, psychosocial and environmental causes of mental health derangement as well as providing information on schizophrenia, phobia and depression. Specific pathophysiology, signs and symptoms and EMS treatment options are provided to the participant during the discussion as well as addressing the prevalent problem of PTSD and suicide that is affecting all of us in the EMS community, now more than ever.

Target Audience:  All levels

The Smiling Death

When responding to an entrapment situation, EMS should be prepared to manage a patient with crush syndrome. Having your patient die moments after being freed is a tragic end to a well-executed rescue.  EMS providers as part of these teams can reduce the chances of this through recognition and proper pre-treatment prior to extrication.  Come listen to this presentation and find out how.

Target Audience:  All levels, slightly toward the Advanced level

Pediatric Sepsis

Sepsis is a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by an overwhelming bodily response to an   infection. Caring for a septic infant or child presents not only a management challenge, but also causes anxiety and fear in even the most seasoned EMT or paramedic. As one of the leading causes of death for children in the U.S., the EMS professional must be familiar with the signs and symptoms of this possible life-threatening event, and vigilant in his or her examination. This presentation will help you to recognize and properly intervene, which is essential to improve patient outcome.

Target Audience:  All levels

Special K!

What is the difference between hypokalemia and hyperkalemia?  Should pre-hospital providers even care?  Absolutely!  Ever run a code or treat a dialysis patient, and despite everything done correctly the patient does not improve?  Remember the H’s and T’s?  By paying attention to the history of the illness and some of the more subtle signs and symptoms, EMS providers can provide a more detailed report to emergency department personnel, alerting them to the possibility of an electrolyte imbalance emergency. Come participate…and we will discuss physical presentation, ECG changes and other things to consider.

Target Audience:  Advanced, EMT-P

And The Beat Goes On…

A ventricular assist device (VAD) is a device used to partially or completely replace the function of a failing heart. Some VAD’s are for short-term use, typically for patients recovering from heart attacks or heart surgery, while others are intended for long-term use. This session discusses the heart failure patient and need for a VAD, the various types of VAD’s, troubleshooting warning indicators, common management needs and special situations requiring intervention by the EMS professional.

Target Audience:  All levels/NCCP for Ventricular Assist Devices

A Kicker for the Ticker

Occasionally EMS professionals encounter a patient with an implanted pacemaker.  When that device isn’t working optimally, it may cause signs and symptoms that range from a minor inconvenience to a major physiologic malfunction.  This presentation will describe and discuss the common terminology, various normal ECG presentations, and the complications and consequences of an implanted pacemaker that malfunctions.

Target Audience:  Advanced, EMT-P

A Spoonful of Insulin Helps the Sugar Go Down

Diabetes Mellitus is a complex disorder of fat, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism. Having it, puts a patient at a higher risk for several types of medical emergencies and is potentially lethal. So that EMS professionals can better care for these patients, this presentation discusses the pathophysiology of pediatric diabetic ketoacidosis, the basic and advanced patient assessment considerations, clinical presentation, how to differentiate the condition from other diabetic emergencies, and the prehospital interventions necessary for a positive patient outcome.

Target Audience:  All levels

Accidental Hypothermia

Defined as an unintentional decline in the core temperature below 35ºC, accidental hypothermia can present significant management problems.  While typically associated with regions that have severe winters, hypothermia also occurs in milder climates, such as the southern United States. Cases of hypothermia occur during the summer months, and with the homeless and elderly populations.  This presentation will discuss the pathophysiology, special considerations and pre-hospital management of this unique medical issue.

Target Audience:  All levels

When a Stroke Really Isn’t A Stroke

The diagnosis of acute ischemic stroke is often straightforward. The sudden onset of a focal neurologic deficit with a common presentation – such as hemiparesis, facial weakness and aphasia – identifies a common syndrome of acute stroke. What if the patient presentation is not that cut and dry?  Differential diagnostic problems remain because there are several subtypes of stroke and some non-vascular disorders have clinical presentations identical to stroke. This presentation will address these “mimics” as well as other considerations during your assessment of these patients who “didn’t read the textbook’.

Target Audience:  Can be used for all levels

The Unhappy Drunk: Toxic Alcohols

“Toxic alcohols” … Why would someone ever consume them? Typically, these substances are used for two reasons: suicide/homicide or inebriation.  They are more readily available than ethanol and are usually cheaper, thus, are sometimes a viable option for the patient looking for a quick fix.  The results of ingestion, however, can be catastrophic.  This presentation will break down the effects of these substances in the body and what we as EMS providers can do for these patients.

Target Audience:  Can be used for all levels

The Miracle of Life…Almost

Luckily, most pre-hospital deliveries involve a catch, suctioning and warming the newborn.  Sometimes though, Murphy’s Law gets in the way – resulting in a complicated birth.  Topics including placenta previa, abruptio placenta, shoulder dystocia, CPD and breech birth are discussed in this not-always-necessary-but-essential-to-know presentation.

Target Audience:  All levels

The Perils of Suspension Trauma

Those who work at heights on scaffolds and other structures higher than six feet often wear safety harnesses. The technology of safety harnesses has progressed in recent years, but even with the best designs in safety gear, those who fall in an upright position are at risk of death.  This can happen even after a relatively short and effective rescue.  This presentation will explain the physiological consequences of suspension trauma and what EMS professionals need to consider during recovery and treatment.

Target Audience:  All levels

A Bolt Out of the Blue

A person struck by lightning is the second leading cause of storm-related deaths in the United States. At minimum, a lightning strike is both a serious medical and traumatic event that can lead to significant injury and/or permanent disability. This presentation will enlighten you to the various effects that a lightning strike has on the human body and the numerous anatomical and physiological complications that the pre-hospital provider must be aware of in order to triage and treat these victims properly. Come, listen, and see what all the thunder is all about!

Target Audience:  All levels

The Day the Blue Bloater met the Pink Puffer

One of the most common calls to which an EMS provider responds is the classic “shortness of breath”. While there are many causes behind this chief complaint, this presentation focuses upon the two main types of COPD – emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Both disease processes’ pathophysiology are compared and contrasted as well as their signs and symptoms. This presentation is audience interactive and follows an imaginary storyline of two patients named Betty and Earl that helps to solidify the differences and commonalities of these two respiratory emergencies.

Target Audience:  All levels

In an Instant

One time or another, we take the call for a patient that we know all too well.  Sometimes it is a family member, a friend, and in one terrible instance – a co-worker.  Based on an actual EMS call, this presentation correlates real timeline history, events, and preventative treatments for a fellow colleague with the underlying pathophysiology of a pulmonary embolism.  Various signs, predisposing risk factors and origins of emboli formation are all tied together to give a global perspective of the acute and, in this case, fatal event that shocked and stunned an entire EMS service.

Target Audience:  All levels

To Pee Is to Be

When the kidneys fail, your patient becomes sick with a variety of non-specific signs and symptoms. Whether an acute event or from a chronic problem, kidney failure may lead a patient being dependent on dialysis. This presentation helps you gain some insight into the challenges these patients provide to the EMS professional.

Target Audience:  All levels

Blown to Kingdom Come!

Blast injuries result from explosions that have the capability to cause multisystem, life-threatening injuries in single or multiple victims simultaneously. These types of events present complex triage, diagnostic, and management challenges for the health care provider.  This presentation will explain the pathophysiology, safety considerations and what we do as EMS providers to help these trauma patients.

Target Audience:  All levels

The Night Joe’s Crab Shack Almost Changed Everything

This presentation explains and follows the development of the pathophysiology, signs, symptoms and treatment of a severe anaphylactic reaction. This case study shows how an allergic reaction develops into an anaphylactic presentation in real time with real events.  Audience participation will help demonstrate the components of the immune system and the events of a normal immune response.  All of the actual events during this case study correlated with the underlying pathophysiology of the immune response and will help the EMS professional better understand the development of anaphylaxis and its management.

Target Audience: All levels/NCCP for Immunological

The Other 3 Stooges

Everyone knows Larry, Moe and Curly, but what about their medical counterparts?  Beck, Virchow and Cushing all became famous for their breakthrough in identifying life-threatening signs and symptoms.  This presentation will review what to look for in a patient suffering from cardiac tamponade, pulmonary embolism and increasing intracranial pressure.

Target Audience:  All levels

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Commotio Cordis is sudden death due to ventricular fibrillation when a projectile, such as a baseball or hockey puck strikes the chest of a child with no underlying cardiac disease.  Although it is a relatively rare event, quick assessment, resuscitation and defibrillation can many times produce a favorable outcome.  This presentation will explain the pathophysiology and treatment of this anomaly.

Target Audience:  All levels, slightly toward Advanced

Hot Tots!  Pediatric Burn Patients

There are approximately 3,000 pediatric deaths annually due to burns and probably three times as many disabling injuries.  Burns not only affect the body physically, but also the life-long emotional well-being of individuals who must deal with any disfigurement that occurred from a burn.  This presentation will help the EMS provider provide proper, rapid assessment and care to a pediatric patient sustaining a burn from flame, electrical and/or inhalation injury.

Target Audience:  Can be used for all levels

Seven Things to Know about Pediatric Cardiac Arrest

The worst call possible: child in cardiac arrest.  So many thoughts go through your head before you show up.  On scene, chaos reigns.  Why did this happen?  What do I do first?  The situation alone of treating a child or infant is daunting even for the most seasoned EMS professional – this presentation will help you focus and be more confident when attempting resuscitation on this patient population.

Target Audience:  Can be used for all levels

When your patient reaches the breaking point

Need to brush up on some basic musculoskeletal assessment and management?  This lecture will help get you back up to speed on caring for various injuries and the complications associated with fractures and dislocations.  If nothing else, just come to see all of the cool pictures!

Target Audience:  All levels

The Toxic Twins

Victims involved with fire can have a multitude of injuries that cause significant morbidity and mortality.  Smoke inhalation is just one of many exposures that can cause systemic toxicity from carbon monoxide (CO) and/or cyanide (CN).  This presentation will review the pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of CO and CN poisonings in the pre-hospital setting.

Target Audience:  All levels

Help! I Need A Pediatric Pulmonary Plumber!

Pulmonary hypertension is associated with diverse cardiac, pulmonary, and systemic diseases in neonates, infants, and older children – contributing to significant morbidity and mortality.  While rare, children with pulmonary hypertension are being cared for at home, now more than ever; thus increasing the possibility of EMS professionals coming in contact with these little patients.  This presentation will discuss the pathophysiology and consequences of pulmonary hypertension in pediatric patients as well as management considerations in the prehospital setting.

Target Audience:  All levels, more toward the Advanced level

Shaken, Not Stirred

Seizures are a fairly common medical emergency.  Most are brief and self-limited – typically stopping on their own in less than a few minutes and present a low risk of patient harm. There are many types of seizures, which range in severity, and vary by where and how they begin in the brain.  Astute recognition and aggressive treatment of seizures and related complications is the foundation of prehospital care. This presentation provides an overview of seizure types, origins, causes, and up to date management practices for EMS professionals.

Target Audience:  All levels

Unique Patient Signs

Even experienced clinicians can be stumped when a patient presents with multiple signs and symptoms.  Diagnosis and treatment are often delayed as a result, especially when these signs and symptoms don’t jive with the patient’s chief complaint.  Interestingly, there is a subset of medical terminology known as an eponym – which is any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person, usually a physician.  Observing these unique “signs” and understanding what they represent can help an EMS professional efficiently differentially diagnose, guide patient management and make appropriate transport decisions.  This presentation will discuss many different unique patient signs that might appear in your next patient!

Target Audience:  All levels

When Tipsy Doesn’t Mean Trashed

There are medical conditions that make a patient appear to act intoxicated. However, one can’t always assume, based on behavior alone, that a patient has been drinking or has been using drugs. If he or she displays certain abnormal behaviors, it could indicate a serious medical condition that may worsen if the EMS professional just writes them off as “another drunk”.  This presentation will highlight the common intoxication mimics and how the EMS professional can differentiate them so as to provide proper and timely management.

Target Audience:  All levels