Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stomach Pumping

It may be ugly, but it's effective.

Using an Ewald tube, also known as stomach pumping, isn't all that common. For ingestion patients, activated charcoal or a nasogastric tube are much more popular options, at least in the Big City ED. But after ingesting a full bottle of Tylenol less than 30 minutes prior, our patient last night won herself the tube.

Actually two tubes, if you count the intubation. One of our veteran nurses recounted how stomach pumping on conscious patients was fairly common back when she first started. I'd prefer the etomidate and sux myself.

The Ewald tube resembles a clear plastic garden hose which is inserted through the mouth and advanced into the stomach. Even with the patient sedeated, it didn't look pleasant. Saline is rushed into the tube from a large bag suspended from the ceiling, filling the stomach with water, which gravity then drains out to an empty bag.

At least the pill fragments rushing through the tube looked much better in the bag than in her liver.

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