Heart Disease: It’s Not Someone Else’s Disease

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The term “heart disease” conjures up images of arteries filled with “plaque” (atherosclerosis).  Sometimes we picture “hardening of the arteries” (arteriosclerosis), in which coronary arteries become thick and lose their elasticity.  We often associate these types of heart disease with people who are obese, smoke, don’t exercise or eat too many hamburgers.  So, if we maintain a healthy weight, stop smoking, exercise and eat better we have nothing to worry about, right? Wrong.

February is American Heart Month – a month ...

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WVAC 911: Struggling to death

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The scene has played out before and been witnessed by many, but usually only in a movie or on an episode of Cops. The patient is naked or partially clothed and is sweating profusely. He is violent, unstoppable, has what seems like superhuman strength and is impervious to pain. The patient’s bizarre behavior came on suddenly, and he is confused, won’t follow commands to desist and is shouting and screaming. The patient is also violent against ...

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No Room in an Ambulance for a Boardroom

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In a former life I worked in Corporate America. Since defecting and taking refuge in the world of emergency medicine and cardiac education, one thing has become abundantly clear. I’d rather be working in the back of an ambulance than in the boardroom.

I found that the corporate environment distorts our perception of life, clouds our judgment and mangles the rational mind. The result is an inability to recognize true emergencies and respond appropriately.  Exaggerated jargon in the ...

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A Letter from the Babysitter

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The following account is based on a true incident.  Names, ages and circumstances have been changed to protect privacy.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Dom Perignon:

I had a great time babysitting your son on Friday night. We did a lot of coloring, Lego building, and even played hide-n-seek, which he won (of course). He was very good about brushing his teeth and getting into bed on time. I started to read Charlotte’s Web to him, but he fell asleep ...

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Choking & Development Disabilities: What You Need to Know

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“You talk very easily of hours, sir! How long do you suppose, sir, that an hour is to a man who is choking for want of air?”
– Charles Dickens

Choking is a major cause of respiratory emergencies and cardiac arrest in infants and children. But there are other individuals who are also at high risk for choking, such as those with severe learning disabilities, Down syndrome, people who have an incomplete dentition, the elderly and those taking ...

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