Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Last of the Funny Videos!

This is the last of the funny video group.

In case you wondered-- I am a dog lover. Not so much cats. So, I'm with the dogs on this one. And no wonder they won't walk by when those pesky cats claw and hiss at them when they do!

Enjoy and we'll be back to the medical mayhem shortly.

Hope you are having GREAT holidays.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Marching Band Geeks Rule!

I was a marching band geek in highschool. I am proud of those years. Our school took State the years I participated. If you can believe it-- I played flute, piccolo, and mellophone (which is the marching french horn.) That was quite a change to go from a wind instrument to a brass instrument for sure!

Recently, the Ohio State Marching Band did a tribute to Michael Jackson and actually did a moon walk. It's pretty cool. The next one has a flying Superman!

Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Funny Christmas Videos

Will you be torturing your children like this on Christmas?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Loss of Words

I have to confess, as an author I've been concerned about the loss of words which is interesting because there seems to be more words than ever before. Texts. FB posts. Blog posts. The amount of books that are now available through self-publishing are more than at any time in our history.

But are they meaningful words?

We don't *write* anymore. Not in the form of handwritten notes. And what we write is abbreviated with little context. I wonder what our children will show their grandchildren. Once e-mail accounts are deleted those messages are lost. Do you print out e-mails, texts, etc and archive them?

I know I don't.

So I wonder, a lot, about the meaning and context of our words and what will be lost in this technological age. Handwritten love letters. Diaries. Journals. I doubt even this blog will survive me.

Glenn Beck is a polarizing character. I get that-- I totally get that. I'm not a fan of everything he says but this is a powerful message to ponder. If you want to avoid his political message you can stop viewing the video after about 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

But consider the loss of words and what you can do to maintain a written-- actual pen to paper history.

I think about it every day. Do you?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Joy of Laughter

In December, I take a break from ALL the medical mayhem and post funny, cheesy and/or interesting videos for you and your family to enjoy.

The first video actually reminded me of an incident that happened with our dog. My husband was out fishing and actually caught something and the fish was flipping on the shore after it was removed off the hook. The flipping fish freaked the dog out and somehow he got tangled in the fishing line and the hook became embedded in one of his back legs. Our dog took of running and then thought the fishing pole was after him-- which of course caused him to run faster. So here is dog, followed by fishing pole, followed by my screaming husband around the lake. I'm sure it was a sight to be seen.

I happened to be working and got to use my nursing knowledge to remove the hook from the dog's leg. Hey, at least it saved us a couple of hundred dollars at the emergency vet and he (the dog) went on to live a long life.

The second video comes from comedian Tim Hawkins who I am a big fan of. If you're married I think you'll enjoy this piece-- plus there is something there for football fans, too.

Hope you enjoy!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Merry Christmas!

This post begins my annual two week Christmas break from the usual medical mayhem where I post fun, interesting videos for you to enjoy.

My hope for you is that you find meaning this Christmas-- not in gifts but in people and relationships.

Many Blessings,


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Author Question: Electrocution

Tamara Asks:

My next thriller, The Killing Garden, is coming out this summer, and my publisher and I are batting the last minute details back and forth.

I had a question about one scene in the book: A woman grabs a highly electrified curtain rod (not knowing that it was electrified). She immediately dies. I just want to know what that will look like. Currently, I have her giving an ear-piercing shriek, a wild thrash, then collapsing on the floor. The carpet has a blackened circle where the electricity grounded.

Would she be burned? Blackened? Skin, hair, nails - would anything happen to them? Would she have time to shriek? Would the thrash be realistic? Would she be shot across the room? And the blackened circle on the rug - how would that look?

I have never seen anyone electrocuted before, so this scene was all written with the help of what I could find on Google. I'd appreciate it if you could clarify these points for me.

Jordyn Says:

What you describe is reasonable. She could scream initially. The electricity could flow through her (giving the body spasms) or she could be thrown off.

Being thrown off is probably more likely with higher voltage like power lines and lightening.

The thing about being burned by electricity is there is generally an entrance and an exit wound. So if she grabs onto it with her hand-- it will exit out usually from another limb. So the hand or either foot. I would say there probably wouldn't be a large burned area to the carpet but a good person to ask would likely be a firefighter who may have scene experience with this type of injury.

Depending on the burn severity-- it could be blackened and/or blistered. I would good "electrical burns" and then hit images for some examples to describe in your ms.


Tamara Shoemaker is a thirty-something-year-old author living in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She and her husband Tim spent a year in Ireland, where she acquainted herself with the leprechauns and fairies of the Green Isle, and studied the poetry and prose of James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and other Irish writers. She and Tim moved to Virginia with their three young children. Tamara is the author of Broken Crowns, her debut thriller novel with over 10,000 downloads worldwide. Her second thriller, The Killing Garden, will be released in early summer 2013.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hostages: Episode 8 Analysis 3/3

Over the past several posts I've been analyzing the CBS drama Hostages. These posts have concentrated on one particular episode and here are Part I and Part II.

Ellen discovers that the primary hostage takers wife is a patient at another hospital and she gives her one of the other captor's the slip and proceeds to go over there and snoop.

The primary hostage taker's wife is dying of cancer and desires for all treatment to stop. Her husband has begged her to press on and try one more round of chemo for the sake of their elementary school aged daughter.

Ellen finds the ill wife and she happens to be sleeping and begins to read through her chart that is located on a clipboard at the end of her bed.

Problem #1: This is a plain and simple HIPAA violation. Patient information is highly guarded and there is no way that much information is going to be out in the open for public consumption. Anyone could grab it-- from our snooping doctor to housekeeping and if you aren't directly caring for the patient then HIPAA says you have no reason to view the patient's healthcare information.

The patient awakens and sees Ellen there. She assumes Ellen is a doctor her husband has hired to consult for an experimental medical treatment related to her cancer. Ellen wants her to go back to sleep so she grabs the patient's PCA button and depresses it about three times and within five seconds (I counted) the patient falls quickly back to sleep.

Problem #2: Let's just classify this section as PCA pumps in general.

A PCA pump (Patient Controlled Analgesia) functions to let the patient decide when they need pain medication. They allow the patient to stay on top of their pain before it gets out of control where it can be more difficult to temper down. They can deliver a basal rate (a small amount of medication all the time), a PCA dose (which is a bolus dose of the medication the patient decides when to self administer) or a combo of these two.

PCA pumps have safety mechanisms. The patient can only give themselves one dose every several minutes. Generally, it's between 8-10 minutes. When our good doctor gives three subsequent doses-- this is not medically feasible. No PCA pump would allow a patient to deliver that much for fear of overdose. Pumps are never set that way.

The other issue is how quickly the patient falls to sleep. IV morphine does work quickly but not THAT quickly.

Eventually, Ellen is discovered by the primary hostage taker. With her back turned to the PCA pump she is able to unlock the door and grab the syringe and threatens to inject the whole thing into his wife-- thusly killing her.

Problem #3: PCA pumps are ALWAYS locked and doctor's never have a key (unless you're an anesthesiologist.) This is another safety feature of the pump for this very reason-- we don't want anyone accessing it and thereby overdosing the patient. The person in possession of the key would have been her bedside nurse. Newer pumps could have a key code for access.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Up and Coming

By now, everyone should be in the throes of at least thinking about Christmas shopping. Tell me, what's on your list? I'm curious to know.

For Tuesday I'm wrapping up my medical critique of the CBS drama Hostages episode 8. I'm sure there will be more but perhaps they'll take a Christmas break and hire a medical consultant-- I hope so.

On Thursday I'll be handling an author question related to electrocution.

Have a GREAT week.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hostages: Episode 8 Analysis 2/3 and Snake Bite Kits

This is part two of three in analyzing ONE episode of the CBS drama hostages. You can find the first part here.

Last post I blogged about why a paralyzing agent wouldn't kill a person during surgery.

Now, let's examine why Ellen's treatment of the injected poison is suspect as well.

When we left him, our primary hostage taker had a needle full of the paralyzing agent stuck in his chest but only a small amount had been given. He was symptomatic as evidenced by some weakness.

The good doctor says, "We need to cut it out."

She then proceeds to remove the syringe, slice open his chest in the area the needle was, and then thrust his entire body in ice water. 

This reminded me of a first aid kit I used to have that had a snake bite kit in it and it looked just like the photo. The green thread is supposed to function as a tourniquet to keep the poison from traveling. The ampule is iodine to clean the area. The blade is used to cut an "x" through the skin and the green plastic parts are to extract the poison. The rational behind this treatment was to get the poison out before it entered the bloodstream. I guess the rationale for thrusting the hostage taker in ice water is to slow his metabolism down to prevent the poison from traveling as well.

This method of poison extraction has been proven false. Poison or infectious type agents can rapidly enter the bloodstream and in fact, some have postulated that cutting the skin increases blood flow to the area and hastens absorption. As this article also explains that studies show the commercially available suction devices remove "virtually no venom". 

This article also discussed icing the site-- again the rational being slowing the metabolism will keep the venom from traveling but what can happen is that you get frostbite injury from the ice and it may concentrate the poison in one place causing more tissue damage.

What would have been more believable would have been to have him suffer the effects of the paralyzing agent and Ellen, the good doctor, needs to decide whether or not to resuscitate him. That would have been more more dramatic.

Clear here for more information on the current treatment methods for treating snake bites.  


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hostages: Episode 8 Analysis 1/3

Seriously, medically speaking, the CBS drama Hostages is becoming that car accident I can't avert my eyes from. This episode had me doing some serious eye rolling-- one of my eyes may have actually rolled away from me at one point. I have since recovered it so don't worry.

During episode 7-- the husband is left alone with the primary hostage taker and his primary goal is to do him in. What remains in the house is the "colorless, non-traceable, fast-acting poison" that was contained in a lipstick holder for Ellen to give the President during surgery.

Hubby finds it, a needle and syringe and draws up the medication. At the end of this episode he manages to put it into his chest and pushes in a little of the medication.

Enter the hero doctor who is now convinced that he must live or all of her family will die.

She asks him, "What is the poison?"

He says, "A rapid-acting paralyzing agent."

At this point, I'm going to beg the producers of this show to either get a new medical consultant or hire one. Because, whoever is advising them doesn't know anything about WHY this wouldn't kill the president during his operation.

Paralyzing agents don't stop your heart from beating. I've blogged here before about the unique characteristics of heart cells. They have their own automaticity. Paralyzing agents work at the neuromuscular juction to stop the muscles from being able to contract. Your heart muscle is different from this system but your diaphragm is not which is the primary muscle used for breathing.

The reason a paralyzing agent will kill you is that it stops the contraction of your diaphragm muscle and therefore you stop breathing. Obviously, if you're not breathing you're going to die so to save your life we have to provide rescue breathing and preferably oxygen.

In surgery, especially the type of surgery the president is having which is a lung surgery, he is already going to be intubated and bagged with oxygen to keep him alive. The injection of a paralyzing agent (of which he may already have some on board to get him intubated) would have a net ZERO effect.

You can read more about neuromuscalur blocking agents here

So-- it is fiction people and someone in the military wants him gone. You can't invent an odorless, rapid-acting, undectable poison and give it a cool name?

Part II we'll continue with the good doctor's treatment.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Up and Coming

Hello Redwood's Fans?

How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Mine-- don't know yet as I'll be celebrating today since I had to work on the holiday.  Who braved Black Friday? Me? You will never see me wake up before the sunrise to join hordes of crazy people to buy a cheap TV. But that's just me.

What's the status of your Christmas shopping? I am hoping to get done early this year and just sit back and enjoy the season. This is the first year in about three that I don't have a crushing writing deadline to worry about and I'm taking it as a blessing in disguise.

For you this week I'm continuing my medical analysis of the TV show Hostages. Either they will blackball me from ever working in Hollywood or they'll eventually hire me as a medical consultant because they need one people.

Happy Shopping!