Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Temperatures well below freezing and sub-zero windchills have descended over most of the country, and the Big City is no exception.  My past few shifts have seen a big increase in the number of patients requiring rewarming, many with core temps in the low 90s.  In yet another example of the vicious cycle started by the economic collapse, government funding and private donations to local homeless shelters have started to dry up, forcing people to risk freezing to death outside and eventually making their way to the ED.

One of my least favorite aspects of the cold is the need to cut off trauma patients' clothing.  When someone arrives in a c-collar, we often have little choice but to cut off their shirts so they can be examined for other injuries.  Pants I'll always try to slide off, but if we can't ease the bulky sweater or turtleneck over the head, I feel awful having to cut through what may be that person's only warm clothing.  

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