Karen O'Brien, DO

Critical Cases - Epidural Abscess Emergency!

A 61 yo male presents to the ED for the second time with complaints of back pain. While the overwhelming majority of cases of back pain are benign, there are a few "can't miss" causes which will result in paralysis if not diagnosed early. You ponder these diagnoses as you make your way to the patient's room...

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Critical Cases - Dizziness and Vomiting - Benign or Catastrophic?

A 59 year old male presents complaining of unsteadiness on his feet and vomiting for 24 hours. You know there are numerous benign explanations for his symptoms, but also realize there are a few "can't miss" diagnoses as well...what are they and how do we assess for them in the ED?

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Critical Cases - Pericardial effusion!

You are evaluating a patient for abdominal pain the usual way (with a CT of course!) when you discover an incidental pericardial effusion. Quick as a flash you grab your trusty ultrasound and head back to the patient's room, wondering how this effusion got there and what POCUS findings you should be looking for...

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Critical Cases - Hyperkalemia Emergency!

A 56 year old male presents to the ED with confusion and abdominal pain. You notice a fistula in his upper extremity. A tech hands you his triage ECG and you scrutinize it for the tell-tale signs of a common, life-threatening diagnosis in hemodialysis patients, while wondering what the initial steps in management are....

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