Welcome to First10EM, a FOAMed project dedicated to emergency medicine, critical care, and evidence based medicine.

“First 10” refers to the first ten minutes in the resuscitation room, when immediate action is necessary and information is generally lacking. In most of medicine, I am a strong believer in doing less; in the mantra “don’t just do something, stand there”. The first ten minutes in the resuscitation bay are an exception. They are a time for action rather than contemplation. You must know what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, and why it is being done well before the patient arrives.

The initial goal of First10EM was to create a collection of the scenarios that need to be managed instantly. Things that we need to know cold, because we will never have time to look them up. These cases provide action scripts – the approach that I have some up with after extensive reading and contemplation. However, they also serve as a basis for simulation. Not the kind that occurs with a group around a high tech mannequin, but the kind that you can do anywhere and everywhere. The kind that occurs within what I have heard Cliff Reid (@cliffreid) refer to as “the most high fidelity simulator in the universe”: the human brain. The idea is to visualize the case – to truly simulate it in your brain – to the extent that you can actually picture your own resus room. For example, if your third option for managing a difficult airway requires a scalpel and a bougie, you need to picture exactly which drawer those will be in, and see your hand moving the knife across the neck, so that those actions are automatic when they are required.

I know that to some extent most of us already do this simulation, driven by the mild anxiety and slightly elevated levels of endogenous adrenaline that go along with being an emergency doctor. However, aside from promoting this ‘cerebral simulation’ I hope this site will also act as a reminder of rare emergencies that aren’t as frequently discussed and therefore probably aren’t frequently simulated. I have visualized myself performing a cricothyrotomy and a perimortem c-section thousands of times. I was driven to create this site when I realized that there were other scenarios I just wasn’t preparing for. I had never truly visualized the steps I would take when faced with a TET spell or a breech delivery when working, as I sometimes do, far away from the closest obstetrician.

What this project is supposed to represent is my current best approach, based on the resources available at my community hospital and my best read of the literature. The goal is to think the cases through, not to be sure I am correct. I hope to uncover shortcomings in my current knowledge and slowly refine my approach to resuscitation. If through discussion on this site, people can point out my flaws and improve my practice, all the better.

Here are a few of the most popular First10EM approaches:

I have also always been interested in evidence based medicine, and over time I have been posting more critical appraisals and in depth evidence reviews on First10EM. In fact, the vast majority of blog posts now fall into the evidence based medicine category. My overall goal is to demonstrate that, despite the use of a few esoteric terms, evidence based medicine is actually easy. A few of the most read evidence reviews include:

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I hope you find the content of this website helpful. I am always grateful for any feedback you might have. And of course, don’t forget to subscribe to First10EM, so you never miss a post:

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