Penn Medicine News Blog Archive: Emergency Medicine

Penn Medicine at the 2014 Philadelphia Science Festival

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PSF 2011 Carnival Dry icePenn Medicine will again play a starring role in the 4th annual Philadelphia Science Festival, a citywide collaboration showcasing science and technology every spring.

Art Beat: Penn Medicine Researchers Launch Nationwide Contest to Spotlight Lifesaving AEDs

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The inaugural design in Amtrak's 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. To celebrate February as American Heart Month, the News Blog is highlighting some of the latest heart-centric news and stories from all areas of Penn Medicine. It’s a lifesaving device that you might walk by every day and not even...

A Day in the Life at Penn Medicine

Each autumn, the University of Pennsylvania showcases its myriad activities — scholarly and otherwise — in a photo project called A Day in the Life. One day a year, from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., everybody at UPenn is invited to submit photographs of what they're up to at any...

A Look Back, in Photos: The Past Two Months or So Around Penn Medicine

Though my Penn Medicine ID card says 'Digital Communications Editor,' I've worn a few hats here — including in-house photographer. Because it's an aspect of the job that I love, I'd like to share some of the photos I've taken over the past month or so, giving readers a glimpse...

The New Adventures of Hayley Goldbach (’15): A Week in Haiti

Before she fully dives into the communications piece of the NBC News Global Health and Media Fellowship (next stop: India), Perelman School of Medicine student Hayley Goldbach scrubbed in for a few procedures at the L’Hopital Bernard Mevs in Haiti. In a second blog post for this series, Hayley shares...

Trying to Give Trauma Docs a Breather

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“I want to put trauma doctors out of business.” Rhonda Holmstrom, Trauma Outpatient & Injury Prevention Coordinator, says this with a smile, knowing it’s not a realistic goal, but she –- and other members of the trauma team at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -– are reaching out...

Are These the Medical Leaders of the Future?

For an organization created in 1902, Alpha Omega Alpha is still going strong. That was certainly how it seemed last month when the Perelman School of Medicine inducted 31 members of the Class of 2013 –- and, in the special segment of the ceremony, one member of the faculty, Benoit...

Lend a Hand, Save a Life

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The Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project, led by the Center for Resuscitation Science in Penn’s department of Emergency Medicine, has partnered with the American Heart Association and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Emergency Medical Services to form the “Lend A Hand, Save a Life” CPR Challenge, which launched last month and will continue through late May. The initiative aims to train 250,000 people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Sepsis: Deceptive and Deadly

Sepsis researcher David Gaieski, MD, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine and clinical director in Penn’s Center for Resuscitation Science, spoke this week with several news outlets about the issues raised by the case of the 12-year-old New York City boy who died of sepsis after his infection apparently went undetected at his doctor and an emergency room. explored the reasons why these infections can be so difficult to identify when they’re easiest to treat:

Behind the Scenes of the Drug Approval Process

This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new prescription weight loss drug – the first in more than a decade. Advocates of the drug, which trials showed helped users lose an average of about five percent of their body weight, say it provides an important new weight loss option for the 35 percent of Americans classified as obese. But the medication, which will be sold under the name Belviq, is not without risks. Some studies showed that it causes heart valve problems, an issue that echoes the reasons why the weight-loss drug combination known as Fen-Phen was pulled from the market in 1997. A Penn medical toxicologist and emergency physician, Jeanmarie Perrone, played a role behind the headlines about the drug’s approval, as a member of an FDA advisory committee tasked with reviewing the data about the drug and making recommendations to the agency about whether or not it should be approved.

Giving Back: New CPR Guidelines for Dogs and Cats Informed by Research in Humans

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Pet cpr 1In a unique partnership between veterinary experts and physician-scientists who study and treat cardiac arrest in humans in Penn Medicine’s Center for Resuscitation Science, the same research that is saving patients who suffer cardiac arrests will now be put to use saving the lives of beloved pets. The Reassessment Campaign on Veterinary Resuscitation (RECOVER), announced this month, provides the first evidence-based guidelines on how to best treat cardiopulmonary arrest in dogs and cats.

MyHeartMap Challengers Display Creativity, Persistence

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Over 350 people/teams participated in Penn Medicine's MyHeartMap Challenge, hunting down more than 1,500 AEDs, in about 800 unique buildings around the city of Philadelphia. AEDs were most commonly located in office buildings, gyms and recreation centers, and schools. Each one of the AEDs found represents fresh chances to save lives from sudden cardiac arrest, which claims the lives of more than 300,000 Americans each year.

Lifeline: Penn Medicine Mental Health Experts Work to Expand Suicide Prevention Strategies in the Emergency Department

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Approximately 12 million Americans are seen in U.S. emergency departments each year for mental health-related symptoms. Of those patients, around 650,000 are evaluated for suicide attempts. For many of these people, it’s a frightening stop on the long and painful road of suffering that results from depression, anxiety, and substance...

More Tests, More Answers? Not Always

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The Choosing Wisely initiative, announced last week by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, aims to spark conversation among both doctors and their patients about the types of tests and treatments that are likely to be unnecessary, and perhaps even harmful. More tests, the group explains, does not always mean better care – and overuse of these diagnostics is a huge contributor to the United States’ surging medical costs. The issue of overtesting is a special challenge for emergency physicians. Most of the time, patients are unknown to them, and sometimes, unconscious or otherwise too sick to explain their symptoms or medical history. That often means starting from scratch with determining what might be wrong, and making calls to their previous physicians doesn’t always yield answers, especially during off hours.

A Million Chances to Save a Life

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Would you be able to find an automated external defibrillator if someone’s life depended on it? Despite an estimated one million AEDs scattered around the United States, the answer, all too often when people suffer sudden cardiac arrests, is no. In a Perspective piece published online this week in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality Outcomes, Penn Medicine emergency physician Dr. Raina Merchant outlines the tremendous potential associated with greater utilization of AEDs in public places. In cases of ventricular fibrillation – a wild, disorganized cardiac rhythm that leaves the heart unable to properly pump blood through the body, which is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death – quick use of an AED and CPR improve a patient’s chance of surviving by more than 50 percent.

AEDS: A Lifesaver, Not a Liability

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It’s Day 10 of Penn Medicine’s MyHeartMap Challenge, and more than 200 teams have signed on for the hunt, submitting more and more AEDs each day. From the farthest reaches of the city – all the way up in Northeast Philly’s Pennypack Park area to the Philadelphia International Airport in Southwest Philly – and throughout Center City, participants are snapping pictures and sending them to our team.

Penn Medicine Kicks Off Heart Month With MyHeartMap Challenge

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To celebrate American Heart Month, the News Blog is highlighting some of the latest heart-centric news and stories from all parts of Penn Medicine. Just in time for the start of American Heart Month, Penn Medicine kicked off the MyHeartMap Challenge yesterday. For the first time, the wisdom of the...

"Mystery Shopper" Studies: A Science, Not a Trap

Within hours of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' announcement that they planned to use a group of "mystery shoppers" to study access to primary care across the country, outcry erupted among physicians who felt the study was deceptive and unfair. "Snooping," some called it. A poor use of tax dollars, others said. Days later, the department announced they were putting the effort, which would have surveyed more than 4,000 physicians in nine states, on hold. This week in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Karin Rhodes, an emergency physician and health care policy researcher here at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine -- herself an expert in studies designed using the "secret shopper" method -- responds to the outcry in a "Perspective" piece aimed at taking the so-called "mystery" out of these studies.

Save a Life With Your Cell Phone

A group of Penn Medicine researchers is set to save lives with cell phones cameras -- and they're challenging the public to help. The MyHeartMap Challenge, a contest that will launch this fall, is sending thousands of Philadelphians to the streets to locate as many automated external defibrillators (AEDs) as they can find.

Penn Emergency Doc Brings His Voice to Time Magazine With New "Medical Insider" Column

Zachary Meisel, an emergency physician at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania who is also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar, is's new "Medical Insider" columnist. A month into his new venture, he has taken on topics including the patient-directed "Google medicine" phenomenon, why abdominal pain is...

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