During your clerkship, you will be encountering sick patients. This is obvious. However, I promise that at least one of these patients will catch you VERY off guard. It usually goes like this, you are walking into a room, ready to take a history from (what sounded like) a straight-forward patient. But as soon as you open that door… WHAM! You see an unconscious, hypoxic, hypotensive patient. Maybe they are simultaneously vomiting and pooping blood. Maybe they are limp, blue, and not breathing. Maybe they seize, fall on the floor, and smash their head. Your heart rate speeds up. A lump crawls into your throat. What do you do?
Easy. You start with the A-B-Cs.
In this episode, we cover A (Airway). And here is a hint, the algorithm does NOT start with intubation. Will you be able to intubate 5 minutes from now? Maybe. If the patient lives that long. But you need to act now. So what I plan on teaching you is an algorithm that allows you to take control of literally ANY situation in 60 seconds or less. I plan on giving you a FEAR algorithm. A plan for when soft, brown, mushy stool flies through the proverbial fan and sloshes all over your patient’s hemodynamic status.