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Electrical Emergencies. Presence Regional EMS July 2013 CE. Objectives. Discuss the importance of scene size up, scene safety and rescue. Describe the mechanism of injury in electrical emergencies. Demonstrate the assessment and management of a patient exposed to electricity.

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electrical emergencies

Electrical Emergencies

Presence Regional EMS

July 2013 CE

  • Discuss the importance of scene size up, scene safety and rescue.
  • Describe the mechanism of injury in electrical emergencies.
  • Demonstrate the assessment and management of a patient exposed to electricity.
electrical emergencies1
Electrical Emergencies
  • High Voltage exposure
  • Low Voltage exposure
  • Lightning strikes
scene safety
Scene Safety
  • Scene Size Up
  • Remove patient from current
  • What is your plan?
severity of injury
Severity of Injury
  • Type and amount of current
  • Path of current
  • Duration of contact with current
electrical vocabulary
Electrical Vocabulary
  • Voltage
    • Difference of electrical potential between two points
    • Different concentrations of electrons
  • Amperes
    • Strength of electrical current
  • Resistance (Ohms)
    • Opposition to electrical flow
current flow
Current Flow
  • Completion of circuit between source and ground
electrical current
Electrical Current
  • Insulators
  • Conductors
path of least resistance
Path of Least Resistance
  • Follow the electrons
    • Nervous system
    • Heart rhythms
    • Muscle Contractions
  • Follow the water
    • All cells are made of water
    • Blood vessels
Greatest heat occurs at the points of resistance
    • Entrance and Exit wounds
    • Dry skin = Greater resistance
    • Wet Skin = Less resistance
Longer the contact, the greater the potential of injury
    • Increased damage inside body
  • Smaller the point of contact, the more concentrated the energy, the greater the injury
cardiac dysrhythmias
Cardiac Dysrhythmias
  • Premature ventricular contractions
  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Ventricular fibrillation
  • Began with a normal healthy heart
neurological disorders
Neurological Disorders
  • Depolarization of brain neurons = unconsciousness
  • “Unable to let go” peripheral hyper-stimulation
tissue damage
Tissue Damage
  • Entrance and exit wounds
  • Treat as thermal burns
  • Fractures and dislocations
  • Muscle damage
  • Intravascular coagulation
tissue injury
Tissue Injury
  • Electrical burns are always more severe than external signs indicate.
  • Scene Safety
  • Entrance & Exit wounds
  • Treat any visible injuries
    • Thermal burns
  • Remove clothing, jewelry, and leather items
  • Head to toe exam
    • Potential fractures
    • Neurological injuries
  • ECG monitoring
    • Bradycardia, Tachycardia, VF or Asystole
      • ACLS Protocols
    • Treat cardiac & respiratory arrest
    • Aggressive airway, ventilation, and circulatory management.
  • CPR/AED as needed
  • Treat cardiac rhythms
management continued
Management (continued)
  • Manage burn
  • Splint fractures
  • Consider Fluid bolus for serious burns --20 ml/kg
cardio respiratory arrest
Cardio-respiratory Arrest
  • DC current acts like defibrillation
  • Heart resumes beating spontaneously
  • Respiratory effort delayed much longer than cardiac activity
  • Dispatch:
    • Mid January, 1500 hours for a collapsed 20 year old male.
on arrival
On Arrival
  • You find 20-year-old Chad lying on the lawn of his house. His friends tell you he standing on an aluminum ladder, taking down the Christmas lights when there was a huge flash of light and he was thrown to the ground. Chad is lying approximately 10 feet from a high power line. The line is not down, but still strung on the poles. There is a metal pole in Chad’s hands.
initial assessment
Initial Assessment
  • Mental Status: Awake, confused and anxious. “What is going on?”
  • Airway: Open and clear
  • Breathing: 22 per minute and shallow. No chest movement, only

abdominal breathing.

initial assessment continued
Initial Assessment (continued)
  • Circulation: Skin warm, pink and dry. Hands are burnt into claws around the pole, with open charred wounds on the palms. He has open charred wounds on his feet.
  • His radial pulse is 60 and weak.
  • Chief complaint: “I can’t feel anything, what happened?”
focused history
Focused History
  • Allergies: None
  • Medications: None
  • Past Medical History: None, healthy young man.
  • Last Meal: 5 or 6 beers in the last 3 hours.
  • Events: Chad was taking down the lights when the metal pole he was using must have touched the power line to the house. He was thrown approximately 10 feet and landed on his back.
head to toe exam
Head to Toe Exam
  • No injury to the head
  • Neck has posterior tenderness with a step down
  • NO JVD, No tracheal deviation
  • Chad is unable to move his arms or legs, he has no sensation from the shoulders down.
head to toe exam continued
Head to Toe Exam (continued)
  • Breath sounds are bilateral but hard to hear.
  • No rigidity or tenderness to the abdomen
  • His left leg is shortened and grossly swollen at the mid femur
head to toe exam continued1
Head to Toe Exam (continued)
  • His blood sugar is 120
  • The cardiac monitor shows PVCs in normal sinus rhythm
  • Pulse oximetery 90% on room air
head to toe exam continued2
Head to Toe Exam (continued)
  • Vital signs:
    • BP 90/60
    • pulse 60 and weak
    • respirations 22 and shallow
what do you do now
What do you do now?
  • How do you want to manage Chad?
  • What do you need to do to improve his respirations and circulation?
review questions
Review Questions
  • Consider the following questions as a group.
  • If doing this CE individually, please e-mail your answers to:
  • Shelley.peelman@presencehealth.org
  • Use “July 2013 CE” in subject box.
  • You will receive an e-mail confirmation. Print this confirmation for your records, and document the CE in your PREMSS CE record book.
review questions continued
Review Questions (continued)
  • What body systems are involved in this scenario?
  • What is the mechanism or mechanisms that caused Chad’s paralysis?
  • Why does Chad have the vital signs he does? What do these vital signs indicate?
  • Why does a healthy 20 year-old have an abnormal heart rhythm?
review questions continued1
Review Questions (continued)
  • How will you manage Chad’s wounds?
  • What happened to Chad’s femur? How did that happen? What will you do about it?
  • Will you be able to tell the extent of Chad’s wounds at the scene?
  • How will Chad do? Could this be fatal? What is he at risk for? How well will his wounds heal?