Pain is endemic within Emergency Medical Services, whether it’s the pain from a grotesque traumatic injury, the chest pain from a heart attack, or the emotional pain suffered by the local teenage drama queen in response to a minor texting-while-driving incident. EMTs and Paramedics must become better at overall pain management and in conscious sedation. Luckily, there are researchers and pioneers working on new and innovative strategies for just that end.
Researchers at the Plover, WI Polytechnic Institute of Cosmetology and Cheese Making (PPICCM) have been bringing some cutting edge research to the forefront of Prehospital Pain Management and Prehospital Conscious Sedation and have released some new technologies for use in the field. They have field tested these devices in the dive bars in and around Plover on Friday and Saturday nights and even once or twice on the infamous “TwoFer Tuesdays” down at MoeLarry’s Curly Fries and Cheese Bar. They have come up with compelling data that your agency should consider for your own use.
Tradtionally, EMS providers have had a few choices for use in prehospital analgesia and conscious sedation. Advanced providers and paramedics have injectable medications for use, and basic level providers and EMTs have basic splinting and positioning for use in controlling severe pain and the secret weapon for use in putting people to sleep. These medications, including Morphine, Fentanyl, Toradol, Aspirin, and sometimes Nitronox have proven to be very effective, but all of them carry with them side effects and the risk of allergic reactions that can prove fatal in some patients. So can the medications used in Drug Assisted or Rapid Sequence Intubation Techniques: Etomidate, Succynocholine, and the like. To reduce the risk of poor outcomes from these medications, the researchers at PPICCM have developed the following tools:
- The Open Handed Slap – This is effective as a calming technique for persons who have become hysterical due to superficial trauma to their fingers as well as for family members overcome with emotion due to their loved-one’s bout of indigestion. An example is included below:
- The Mallet Method of Anesthesia Induction – Pioneered by the indomitable Drs Moe, Larry, and Curly (and previously by Dr. Shemp), the use of mallets in induction of conscious sedation is well documented. Simple, yet elegant in it’s use, cranial contact by the fast-moving business end of a mallet is highly effective in reducing any complaints of pain from a patient. In fact, just the visual feedback recieved from opening the case the mallet is stored in and showing the patient that you are preparing to use said mallet is effective in reducing complaints from most alert patients. However, if needed for use, one or two blows in rapid succession is shown to be quite effective in the literature. An example is included below:
- Transcutaneous Oxygen Therapy (TOT-WTYTR) - This method involves pressing the external wall of a “D” sized oxygen cylinder against a bony prominence of a patient in the throws of a violent reaction towards EMS providers. Use of TOT can be handled by both Basic and Advanced providers and it’s effects are determined by the speed and location of the bony prominence that the side wall of the oxygen cylinder is applied to. Lower extremities can be calming while the head and cranium can induce anesthesia and facilitate Rapid Sequence Intubation in most patients. Unfortunately, there is no accompanying video literature for this particular therapy, however it is a simple technique to learn.
Thanks to the brilliant scientists at the PPICCM, prehospital anesthesia and analgesia is in good hands. These simple yet powerful techniques are scheduled to be released for use by my agencies on April Fools Day and should NEVER EVER be used by yours. Ta’ Y’all. Happy Spring.