Sunday, October 26, 2014

Up and Coming

Hello Redwood's Fans!

How has your week been? Mine? Hopefully fabulous as I'm out of town enjoying a writer's retreat. My first one ever. I'll give you a full report upon my return.

Hopefully, you've taken advantage of the fire sale on my novels (Proof, Poison and Peril.) We're in the last few days of this promotion so no more waiting!

This week I'm dealing with injuries related to mass casualty events. As you know, mass casualty events (whether Acts of God or terrorist events) can quickly overrun the medical system. Not only are we dealing with a large number of patients, but there may be new injuries that we're not used to dealing with as well.

Tuesday: Mucormycosis infection. Just what is it and when should you worry about it?

Thursday: Blast lung. This is related to bombing events.

Hope you have a great week and have a safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Author Question: Suicide Attempts That Could Lead to Brain Death


Jennifer asks:

I am trying to find a scenario where a suicide attempt would lead to traumatic brain injury with long-term repercussions (reduced mental and physical functioning afterward) but not death.

Jordyn says:

There are actually several ways a person could attempt suicide and end up with a brain injury. It doesn't have to be a traumatic brain injury but anything that would lead the person to have a hypoxic event (where they weren't breathing for a period of time) could lead to brain damage and difficulty down the road.

If you want direct brain injury then a gunshot wound to the head would be the best bet. Maybe it was misdirected somehow and the person just got a glancing blow.

If you want to go with the lack of oxygen aspect then:

1. Attempted hanging.
2. Drug Ingestion.
3. Ingestion of poison.
4. Cutting the wrists-- if you lose enough blood you will code which could lead to an hypoxic event as well.

Really, any suicide attempt that leads to a code event can cause brain injury.

Follow-up question . . .

Jennifer asks: Would it be covered by insurance since it was a self-inflicted injury?

Jordyn says: Medical insurance will cover if it is a self-inflicted injury. You might be thinking of life insurance that usually does have a clause where if a person dies as a result of suicide the life insurance policy won't pay out. However, from my personal experience with purchasing life insurance policies, this is usually limited to the first 6 months to two years of the policy depending on the insurer.

*************************************************************************

Jennifer Slattery writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers and Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com. You can visit her online at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Author Question: Death by Bee Sting

Amie Asks:

My character is allergic to bees. The villains plan on using bee venom to make her death look like an accident if they need to. Is there any drug that would mimic bee venom, or will I need to use actual bees?

Jordyn Says:

There is no drug that I'm aware of that would mimic bee venom so I think you're going to need to use the real thing. You could just have the killer trap a bee against her body so it actually stings her versus trying to gather bee venom and try to inject her with it. 

What actually kills a person if they are allergic to bees is not the bee venom itself-- it's the body's response to the bee venom and the response it mounts is called anaphylaxis.

I think I should point out the difference between an allergic reaction and anaphylaxis. An allergic reaction is a localized response (I get stung by a bee and my whole arm swells up) or a skin rash.

Anaphylaxis is a multi-system reaction due to massive histamine release that leads to capillary leaking, massive swelling and edema. Anaphylaxis is defined as having two or more body systems involved reacting to the substance and can be two or more of the following.

Skin: Hives.
Gastrointestinal: Vomiting or diarrhea.
Respiratory: This would include anything from the mouth to the lungs. Lip swelling. Tongue is swelling. Itchy, scratchy throat. Thick feeling to the throat. Difficulty swallowing. Drooling. Wheezing in the lungs. Low oxygen levels.
Cardiovascular: Increased heart rate and low blood pressure.

When we treat anaphylaxis-- each treatment is designed to stop the reaction. The more body systems involved, the more life threatening the reaction is. 

#1 Drug given: Epinephrine via an intramuscular injection. Why not IV? An IV dose in a conscious person could cause enough coronary artery vasoconstriction to give the person a heart attack.
#2 Drug: Inhaled Albuterol IF the person is wheezing. 
#3 Drug: A Steroid. If the person has multiple system involvement (particularly respiratory or cardiovascular) then this will be given IV. If not, then an oral dose is okay.
#4 Drug: Benadryl or diphenhydramine. This blocks one form of the histamine being release (H1 blocker). IV if sick, otherwise by mouth. 
#5 Drug: An antacid like Zantac or Pepcid. This blocks the other form of histamine being released (H2 blocker). And same here, too-- IV if sick, otherwise orally.

Patients with anaphylaxis are monitored for 8-12 hours after medications are given. Patients who require more than one dose of IM epi may be admitted to the hospital. The reason is that when the medication wears off we want to ensure the reaction doesn't come back. Patients will go home with a script for an Epi Pen (or renewal script), a steroid for three days and then H2 blocker for three days.

If you're interested in more information-- here is a post I did on food allergies

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Up and Coming

Hello Redwood's Fans!

Ready for Halloween and all the spooky movies about to release? Or, would you rather read great books instead?

If it's books-- then I have good news for you. The e-books of my entire trilogy (Proof, Poison and Peril) are going on sale this coming week! I hope you'll take advantage of it-- particularly the first few days when each title is a mere $0.99!!

For you this week . . .

Tuesday: Death by bee sting. Is it possible? Is there a drug that could mimic this?

Thursday: What types of suicide attempts can lead to a traumatic brain injury?

Have a great week!