If you ever find yourself at the end of the emergency room line, consider yourself lucky because it likely means your condition is not life-threatening or severe enough to require immediate medical attention. While waiting can be frustrating, it also means that your condition is not as dire as others, and you can receive the necessary care once it’s your turn. In his book, ‘Medical School for Everyone: Emergency Medicine’ Dr. Roy Benaroch explains this and other medical secrets. Each day in the Emergency Room brings unique challenges, and Dr. Roy Benaroch’s narration makes you feel like you’re right there on the floor. You gain newfound respect for the dedicated ER staff who handle unpredictable situations and must think quickly and critically.
Dr. Roy Benaroch is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. He is a Board-Certified Pediatrician practicing at Pediatric Physicians, PC near Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Benaroch has authored two books on parenting and pediatric health, and he maintains a blog for parents and health professionals at pediatricinsider.com.
He also gives lectures to medical students, residents, and physician assistants at Emory University. Additionally, he serves on the board of directors of the Cobb Health Futures Foundation, Inc., focusing on public health for all.
What is the book about?
The book is a collection of 24 lectures by Dr. Benaroch that provides an in-depth exploration of life in an everyday emergency department. It offers readers an opportunity to experience the high-stakes drama and medical insights that unfold in one of the most intense departments within a hospital.
The cases presented in the lectures feature patients with a variety of symptoms and complaints. Some cases are easily diagnosed and treated, while others are more complex and life-threatening than they initially seem. The lectures aim to illustrate the thought processes and decision-making skills that emergency doctors employ while dealing with these critical situations.
The book delves into the mindset of emergency doctors, how they think on their feet, how they determine the true cause of a patient’s condition, and how they diagnose and rule out potential health issues. It also highlights the vital role of counseling patients and their families on improving their overall health.
Overall, the book provides a captivating exploration of the adventure, mystery, and fascination of emergency medicine.
Key takeaways from ‘Medical School for Everyone: Emergency Medicine’
1In emergency situations it’s important to use the principles of triage
The book discusses the concept of triage in emergency medicine, emphasising how physicians prioritise patients based on the severity of their conditions. It highlights the dynamic nature of triage, where priorities may change as new patients arrive. Patients with the most critical and urgent conditions are prioritised and treated first. If you are at the end of the line, it indicates that there are other patients who need medical care more urgently than you do.
2Involving a family can help treating illness
Dr. Benaroch emphasises the significance of considering the patient’s family in emergency care. He presents two cases to illustrate this point. In the first case, a football player with a recurrent cough is diagnosed with asthma. Despite initial skepticism from the family, the physician educates them about asthma management, leading to their cooperation in treatment. In the second case, an unresponsive diabetic patient’s family learns about diabetes management and is encouraged to actively participate in her care. The book highlights how involving the family can improve patient outcomes and prevent future visits to the emergency department.
3Always take chest pain serious
The book highlights the importance of immediate interventions in case of chest pain, such as oxygen administration and IV lines. It also mentions various causes of chest pain, ranging from life-threatening conditions like myocardial infarctions and pulmonary embolisms to less serious issues like pneumonia and anxiety. It emphasises the need to never ignore and take all chest pain seriously and seek immediate medical attention if experiencing such symptoms.
4Remember the ABCDE mnemonic to recognise possible skin cancer
Early detection of skin cancer significantly improves the chances of successful treatment. There are five characteristics of skin cancer that are easy to remember from the mnemonic ABCDE.
Asymmetry – Suspicious skin lesions may look asymmetric.
Border – Cancerous lesions may have uneven or notched borders.
Color – Cancerous lesions often have variable colors or changing coloring.
Diameter – Larger lesions are more likely to be cancerous.
Evolving – Any mole or mark that changes in color, size, elevation, or borders is more suspicious than a stable mole.
5It’s crucial to analyse an altered mental status
Altered mental status (AMS) is a term used in medicine to describe a change in a person’s normal level of consciousness and mental function. It refers to a state in which a person’s mental activity, including their cognition, behavior, and responsiveness, is different from what is expected or their baseline. The person may appear confused, disoriented, agitated, or have difficulty following commands or answering questions.
AMS can have various underlying causes, ranging from minor issues like dehydration or medication side effects to more serious conditions such as infections, metabolic imbalances, head injuries, strokes, seizures, or even severe medical emergencies like sepsis. Recognising and diagnosing the cause of altered mental status is essential in medical settings, particularly in the emergency department, as it often indicates an urgent need for further evaluation and treatment to address the underlying condition.
6Fever can be both friend and foe
Fever can be both a friend and a foe. It is the body’s response to infections and other triggers. In some cases, it helps identify and fight infections. However, fever can also be harmful, causing discomfort and dehydration. Proper evaluation of the patient’s overall health and clinical condition is essential to determine the severity of the underlying cause. Height of the fever is not a reliable indicator, and fever should be treated with care and monitored closely during medical evaluations.
7In the emergency situation, specialists use the ABC approach to prioritise life-saving interventions
ABC stands for Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. It is a mnemonic used in emergency medicine and first aid to prioritise the initial assessment and treatment of a patient, particularly in critical or life-threatening situations.
Airway: Ensuring that the patient’s airway is open and unobstructed is the first priority. If the airway is blocked, it needs to be cleared to allow for adequate breathing.
Breathing: Next, the focus is on assessing the patient’s breathing. If the patient is not breathing or having difficulty breathing, appropriate interventions are taken to support or restore breathing.
Circulation: After addressing the airway and breathing, the medical team assesses the patient’s circulation, including checking for a pulse and signs of adequate blood circulation. If circulation is compromised, measures are taken to restore it, such as administering fluids, blood products, or medications.
Table of contents
- Professor Biography
- Course Scope
- LECTURE 1: Triage in Emergency Medicine
- LECTURE 2: Emergency Medicine Means Thinking Fast
- LECTURE 3: Emergency Medicine Means Thinking Again
- LECTURE 4: The Story Is the Diagnosis
- LECTURE 5: Hidden Clues in the Emergency Department
- LECTURE 6: Treat the Patient, Treat the Family
- LECTURE 7: Chest Pain
- LECTURE 8: Treat the Cause, Not the Symptom
- LECTURE 9: Who Needs the Emergency Department?
- LECTURE 10: Altered Mental Status
- LECTURE 11: Simple Symptoms, Serious Illness
- LECTURE 12: In an Emergency, Protect Yourself First
- LECTURE 13: Treating Insect and Animal Bites
- LECTURE 14: The Missing Piece in an Emergency Diagnosis
- LECTURE 15: Healthy Paranoia in Emergency Medicine
- LECTURE 16: Fever: Friend or Foe
- LECTURE 17: Always Treat Pain
- LECTURE 18: An Ounce of Prevention
- LECTURE 19: The Big Picture in Emergency Medicine
- LECTURE 20: Is Exercise Good for Your Health?
- LECTURE 21: Stay Safe in the Emergency Department
- LECTURE 22: Emergency Medicine for Travelers
- LECTURE 23: Emergency Medicine Lessons from the Past
- LECTURE 24: Lessons from the Emergency Department
Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews
Insightful book that helps to understand how the ER medicine works.
Very engaging writing style that makes you emerge in the story.
Contains detailed exploration of interesting and informative medical cases.
Not terribly informative, doesn’t have ‘big picture’ content.
Best quotes from ‘Medical School for Everyone: Emergency Medicine’
“Pain seems to be more than just a thing, or just a symptom. It makes its own demands, and it is very hard to ignore. All pain has to be evaluated and treated with compassion – though not all pain is best treated only with pain medications.”
“There’s a key question from the history when someone has chronic symptoms: Is today’s symptom the same?”
“There’s a myth that somehow people will swallow their tongue during a seizure. That doesn’t happen, and trying to prevent that from happening by putting anything in a seizing patient’s mouth can cause grave harm if it triggers vomiting.”
“Chemicals splashed into the eye can cause some of the most damaging injuries. The important thing is to start irrigating right away, and continue irrigating while getting the victim to the ED.”
‘Medical School for Everyone: Emergency Medicine’ covers various topics, from gunshot wounds and fractures to domestic violence, child abuse, and medical emergencies like heart attacks and asthma. Dr. Benaroch presents intriguing case studies, prompting you to think before revealing the answers. The book also sheds light on the challenges ER doctors face, such as limited patient interactions due to the nature of the job. If you are someone curious about medicine, this book will satisfy your appetite for knowledge. While not a comprehensive view of the ER, it offers valuable insights into the teamwork and diagnostic processes involved in patient care.
Where to buy
You can purchase an audio version of ‘Medical School for Everyone: Emergency Medicine’, narrated by the author, on Amazon.
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