Disagreements, including those between residents and attending physicians, are common in medicine. In this Ethics Rounds article, we present a case in which an intern and attending disagree about discharging the patient; the attending recommends that the patient be hospitalized longer without providing evidence to support his recommendation. Commentators address different aspects of the case. The first group, including a resident, focus on the intern’s potential moral distress and the importance of providing trainees with communication and conflict resolution skills to address inevitable conflicts. The second commentator, a hospitalist and residency program director, highlights the difference between residents’ decision ownership and attending physicians’ responsibilities and the way in which attending physicians’ responsibilities for patients can conflict with their roles as teachers. She also highlights a number of ways training programs can support both trainees and attending physicians in addressing conflict, including cultivating a learning environment in which questioning is encouraged and celebrated. The third commentator, a hospitalist, notes the importance of shared decision-making with patients and their parents when decisions involve risk and uncertainty. Family-centered rounds can facilitate shared decision-making.
Increasing use of social media by patients and clinicians creates opportunities as well as dilemmas for pediatricians, who must recognize the inherent ethical and legal complexity of these communication platforms and maintain professionalism in all contexts. Social media can be a useful tool in the practice of medicine by educating both physicians and patients, expanding access to health care, identifying high-risk behaviors, contributing to research, promoting networking and online support, enhancing advocacy, and nurturing professional compassion. At the same time, there are confidentiality, privacy, professionalism, and boundary issues that need to be considered whenever potential interactions occur between physicians and patients via social media. This clinical report is designed to assist pediatricians in identifying and navigating ethical issues to harness the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls of social media.
The Pediatric Early Warning Score (PEWS) is an evidence-based tool that allows early collaborative assessment and intervention for a rapid response team (RRT) activation. The goal of our quality improvement initiative was to reduce the percentage of unnecessary RRT activations by 50% over 2 years without increasing PICU transfers or compromising patient safety and timely evaluation.METHODS:
A PEWS system replaced preexisting vital signs–based pediatric RRT criteria and was modified through plan-do-study-act cycles. Unnecessary RRT activations, total RRT activation rate, transfers to the PICU, total clinical interventions performed per RRT, and missed RRT activation rate were compared between intervention periods. Likert scale surveys were administered to measure satisfaction with each modification.RESULTS:
There was a significant decrease in the percentage of unnecessary RRT activations from 33% to 3.5% after the implementation of the PEWS and modified-PEWS systems (P < .05). The RRT activation rate decreased from 22.6 to 13.3 RRT activations per 1000 patient care days after implementation of the PEWS and modified-PEWS systems (P < .05), without changes in PICU transfer rates. Physicians reported that the PEWS system improved nursing communication and accuracy of RRT criteria (P < .05). Nursing reported that the PEWS system improved patient management and clinical autonomy (P < .05).CONCLUSIONS:
The PEWS systems have been an effective means of identifying deteriorating pediatric patients and reducing unnecessary RRT activations. The new system fosters collaboration and communication at the bedside to prevent acute deterioration, perform timely interventions, and ultimately improve patient safety and outcomes.
We pursued the use of regional analgesia (RA) to minimize the use of postoperative opioids. Our aim was to increase the use of postoperative RA for eligible surgical procedures in the NICU from 0% to 80% by June 30, 2019.METHODS:
A multidisciplinary team determined the eligibility criteria, developed an extensive process map, implemented comprehensive education, and a structured process for communication of postoperative pain management plans. Daily pain team rounds provided an opportunity for collaborative comanagement. An additional 30 minutes for catheter placement was added in operating room (OR) scheduling so that it would not affect the surgeon OR time.RESULTS:
There were 21 eligible surgeries in the baseline period and 34 in the intervention period. In total, 30 of 34 infants in eligible surgeries (88%) received RA. The average total opioid exposure in intravenous morphine milligram equivalents decreased from 5.0 to 1.1 mg/kg in the intervention group. The average time to extubation was 45 hours in the baseline period and 19.9 hours in the intervention group. After interventions, 75% of infants were extubated in the OR, as compared with 10.5% in the baseline period. No difference was seen in postoperative pain scores or postoperative hypothermia between the baseline and intervention groups.CONCLUSIONS:
We used quality improvement methodology to develop a structured RA program. We demonstrated a significant reduction in opioid requirements and need for mechanical ventilation postoperatively for those infants who received RA. Our findings support safe and effective use of RA, and provide a framework for implementation of a similar program.
Children with incurable cancer may participate in research studies at the end of life (EOL). These studies create knowledge that can improve the care of future patients.OBJECTIVE:
To describe stakeholder perspectives regarding research studies involving children with cancer at the EOL by conduct of a systematic review.DATA SOURCES:
We used the following data sources: Ovid Medline, Embase, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and ProQuest (inception until August 2020).STUDY SELECTION:
We selected 24 articles published in English that examined perceptions or experiences of research participation for children with cancer at the EOL from the perspectives of children, parents, and health professionals (HPs).DATA EXTRACTION:
Two authors independently extracted data, assessed study quality, and performed thematic analysis and synthesis.RESULTS:
Eight themes were identified: (1) seeking control; (2) faith, hope, and uncertainty; (3) being a good parent; (4) helping others; (5) barriers and facilitators; (6) information and understanding; (7) the role of HPs in consent and beyond; and (8) involvement of the child in decision-making.LIMITATIONS:
Study designs were heterogeneous. Only one study discussed palliative care research.CONCLUSIONS:
Some families participate in EOL research seeking to gain control and sustain hope, despite uncertainty. Other families choose against research, prioritizing quality of life. Parents may perceive research participation as the role of a "good parent" and hope to help others. HPs have positive views of EOL research but fear that parents lack understanding of the purpose of studies and the likelihood of benefit. We identified barriers to research participation and informed consent.
For novice providers, achieving competency in neonatal intubation is becoming increasingly difficult, possibly because of fewer intubation opportunities. In the present study, we compared intubation outcomes on manikins using direct laryngoscopy (DL), indirect video laryngoscopy (IVL) using a modified disposable blade, and augmented reality–assisted video laryngoscopy (ARVL), a novel technique using smart glasses to project a magnified video of the airway into the intubator’s visual field.METHODS:
Neonatal intensive care nurses (n = 45) with minimal simulated intubation experience were randomly assigned (n = 15) to the following 3 groups: DL, IVL, and ARVL. All participants completed 5 intubation attempts on a manikin using their assigned modalities and received verbal coaching by a supervisor, who viewed the video while assisting the IVL and ARVL groups. The outcome and time of each attempt were recorded.RESULTS:
The DL group successfully intubated on 32% of attempts compared to 72% in the IVL group and 71% in the ARVL group (P < .001). The DL group intubated the esophagus on 27% of attempts, whereas there were no esophageal intubations in either the IVL or ARVL groups (P < .001). The median (interquartile range) time to intubate in the DL group was 35.6 (22.9–58.0) seconds, compared to 21.6 (13.9–31.9) seconds in the IVL group and 20.7 (13.2–36.5) seconds in the ARVL group (P < .001).CONCLUSIONS:
Simulated intubation success of neonatal intensive care nurses was significantly improved by using either IVL or ARVL compared to DL. Future prospective studies are needed to explore the potential benefits of this technology when used in real patients.
To prevent the future development of insomnia in at-risk adolescents.METHODS:
A randomized controlled trial comparing 4 weekly insomnia prevention program with a nonactive control group. Subjects were assessed at baseline, postintervention, and 6 and 12 months after intervention. Assessors were blinded to the randomization. Analyses were conducted on the basis of the intention-to-treat principles.RESULTS:
A total of 242 adolescents with family history of insomnia and subthreshold insomnia symptoms were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n = 121; mean age = 14.7 ± 1.8; female: 51.2%) or control group (n = 121; mean age = 15.0 ± 1.7; female: 62.0%). There was a lower incidence rate of insomnia disorder (both acute and chronic) in the intervention group compared with the control group (5.8% vs 20.7%; P = .002; number needed to treat = 6.7; hazard ratio = 0.29; 95% confidence interval: 0.12–0.66; P = .003) over the 12-month follow-up. The intervention group had decreased insomnia symptoms (P = .03) and reduced vulnerability to stress-related insomnia (P = .03) at postintervention and throughout the 12-month follow-up. Decreased daytime sleepiness (P = .04), better sleep hygiene practices (P = .02), and increased total sleep time (P = .05) were observed at postintervention. The intervention group also reported fewer depressive symptoms at 12-month follow-up (P = .02) compared with the control group.CONCLUSIONS:
A brief cognitive behavioral program is effective in preventing the onset of insomnia and improving the vulnerability factors and functioning outcomes.
Extended-duration work rosters (EDWRs) with shifts of 24+ hours impair performance compared with rapid cycling work rosters (RCWRs) that limit shifts to 16 hours in postgraduate year (PGY) 1 resident-physicians. We examined the impact of a RCWR on PGY 2 and PGY 3 resident-physicians.METHODS:
Data from 294 resident-physicians were analyzed from a multicenter clinical trial of 6 US PICUs. Resident-physicians worked 4-week EDWRs with shifts of 24+ hours every third or fourth shift, or an RCWR in which most shifts were ≤16 consecutive hours. Participants completed a daily sleep and work log and the 10-minute Psychomotor Vigilance Task and Karolinska Sleepiness Scale 2 to 5 times per shift approximately once per week as operational demands allowed.RESULTS:
Overall, the mean (± SE) number of attentional failures was significantly higher (P =.01) on the EDWR (6.8 ± 1.0) compared with RCWR (2.9 ± 0.7). Reaction time and subjective alertness were also significantly higher, by ~18% and ~9%, respectively (both P <.0001). These differences were sustained across the 4-week rotation. Moreover, attentional failures were associated with resident-physician–related serious medical errors (SMEs) (P =.04). Although a higher rate of SMEs was observed under the RCWR, after adjusting for workload, RCWR had a protective effect on the rate of SMEs (rate ratio 0.48 [95% confidence interval: 0.30–0.77]).CONCLUSIONS:
Performance impairment due to EDWR is improved by limiting shift duration. These data and their correlation with SME rates highlight the impairment of neurobehavioral performance due to extended-duration shifts and have important implications for patient safety.
Mutations in the RASA1 gene are known to cause arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), with evidence of associated lymphatic malformations. We report for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, an infant with RASA1 mutation presenting with hydrops fetalis and chylothorax, but without an associated AVM. Previously, researchers studying rodents have found chylothorax associated with RASA1 mutations, and, in previous case reports, researchers have reported on infants with RASA1 mutations born with hydrops fetalis and AVMs. In this report, we describe the case of a "late preterm" female infant born with nonimmune hydrops fetalis and congenital chylothorax who was detected to have a RASA1 deletion on genetic workup. Although classically described phenotypes of RASA1 mutations present with venous malformations, no such malformations were found in this infant on extensive imaging. This combination is a novel and nonclassic presentation of RASA1 mutation. In cases of congenital chylothorax, especially with nonimmune hydrops fetalis, RASA1 mutations should be considered as part of the differential diagnosis and genetic testing should be included as part of a complete workup to allow for screening for associated vascular anomalies.
A previously healthy 15-year-old boy from a rural county in the southeastern United States was evaluated in the emergency department with fever and worsening toe pain in the absence of trauma. He initially presented to his primary care physician 4 weeks before with upper respiratory symptoms and was treated with corticosteroids for presumed reactive airway disease. His respiratory symptoms resolved. One week after this presentation, he developed fever and right great toe pain and presented to an outside hospital. Inflammatory markers were elevated. MRI confirmed a diagnosis of osteomyelitis with associated periosteal abscess. He was treated with intravenous antibiotics and drainage of the abscess. Ten days after his discharge from the outside hospital, he developed fever and had increasing drainage of the toe and pain refractory to oral pain medications. He presented to our facility for further evaluation. Repeat MRI and inflammatory markers corroborated his worsening disease, and he was admitted to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics and underwent serial surgical debridement. He developed painful subcutaneous nodules on his lower extremities and was found to have lung abnormalities on chest radiograph. A multispecialty team collaborated in the management of this patient and unveiled a surprising diagnosis.
Child sex trafficking is a global health problem, with a prevalence of 4% to 11% among high-risk adolescents. The objective of this study was to confidentially administer a validated screening tool in a pediatric emergency department by using an electronic tablet to identify minors at risk for sex trafficking. Our hypothesis was that this modality of administration would adequately identify high-risk patients.METHODS:
English- and Spanish-speaking patients from the ages of 12 to 17 years presenting to a large urban pediatric emergency department with high-risk chief complaints were enrolled in a prospective cohort over 13 months. Subjects completed a previously validated 6-item screening tool on an electronic tablet. The screening tool’s sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were calculated. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify additional risk factors.RESULTS:
A total of 212 subjects were enrolled (72.6% female; median age: 15 years; interquartile range 13–16), of which 26 patients were subjected to child sex trafficking (prevalence: 12.3%). The sensitivity and specificity of the electronic screening tool were 84.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 70.8%–98.5%) and 53.2% (95% CI 46.1%–60.4%), respectively. The positive predictive value and negative predictive value were 20.2% (95% CI 12.7%–27.7%) and 96.1% (95% CI 92.4%–99.9%), respectively. A previous suicide attempt and history of child abuse increased the odds of trafficking independent of those who screened positive but did not improve sensitivity of the tool.CONCLUSIONS:
A confidentially administered, previously validated, electronic screening tool was used to accurately identify sex trafficking among minors, suggesting that this modality of screening may be useful in busy clinical environments.