Non-traumatic Shoulder Dislocation

  Author Affiliation Jacob Manteuffel, MD Henry Ford Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine, Detroit, MI A 42-year-old female with a past medical history significant for intravenous drug abuse presented to the emergency department complaining of a two-week history of worsening left shoulder pain. She denied any trauma to the shoulder but noted it had become […]

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Non-Communicating Hydrocephalus

A 28-year-old male presented to the emergency department with acute onset of confusion, slurred speech, disequilibrium, and right-sided facial droop. He had no headache, fever, chills, recent trauma, recent travel, or similar symptoms in the past.

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Lidocaine Toxicity Misinterpreted as a Stroke

For more than 50 years lidocaine has been used to treat ventricular arrhythmias. Neurologic dysfunction, manifested as a stroke, occurred acutely in an 87-year-old woman after she had been administered repeated doses of lidocaine, a lidocaine infusion, then an intravenous amiodarone infusion for ventricular tachycardia. This was ultimately diagnosed as lidocaine toxicity with a serum lidocaine level of 7.9 mg/L (1.5–6.0 mg/L). We discuss lidocaine toxicity and risk factors leading to its development, which include particularly hepatic dysfunction, cardiac dysfunction, advanced age and other drug administration.

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Bilateral Psoas Abscess in the Emergency Department

We present the case of a 45-year-old female who presented multiple times to the emergency department with acute low back pain and was subsequently diagnosed with bilateral psoas muscle abscess. Psoas abscess is an uncommon cause of acute low back pain that is associated with high morbidity and mortality. The onset of symptoms is frequently insidious and the clinical presentation vague. Proper diagnosis requires vigilance of the physician to recognize signs in the history and physical examination that are suggestive of a potentially serious spinal condition and initiate further workup. While most patients with acute low back pain have a benign etiology, this case report demonstrates the challenge of diagnosing a patient with bilateral psoas abscess who had few known risk factors and symptoms typical of mechanical low back pain.

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Critical Care

Terrain Park Injuries

This study examined demographics, injury pattern, and hospital outcome in patients injured in winter resort terrain parks.

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International Disaster Medical Sciences Fellowship: Model Curriculum and Key Considerations for Establishment of an Innovative International Educational Program

As recent events highlight, a global requirement exists for evidence-based training in the emerging field of Disaster Medicine. The following is an example of an International Disaster Medical Sciences Fellowship created to fill this need. We provide here a program description, including educational goals and objectives and a model core curriculum based on current evidence-based literature. In addition, we describe the administrative process to establish the fellowship. Information about this innovative educational program is valuable to international Disaster Medicine scholars, as well as U.S. institutions seeking to establish formal training in Disaster Medical Sciences.

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Non-Traumatic Urologic Emergencies in Men: A Clinical Review

Although true urologic emergencies are extremely rare, they are a vital part of any emergency physician’s (EP) knowledge base, as delays in treatment lead to permanent damage. The four urologic emergencies discussed are priapism, paraphimosis, testicular torsion, and Fournier’s gangrene. An overview is given for each, including causes, pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment, and new developments.

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Thyroid Gland Hematoma After Blunt Neck Trauma

Hemorrhage of a previously normal thyroid gland as a result of blunt trauma is a very rare condition. We report a case of blunt trauma that caused acute hemorrhage into the thyroid gland and presented with hoarseness. The diagnosis of thyroid gland hematoma was made with a combination of fiberoptic laryngoscopy, cervical computed tomography, and carotid angiography. The patient was treated conservatively, had a favorable course without further complications, and was discharged four days after admission.

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Lead Toxicity Resulting from Chronic Ingestion of Opium

A 32-year-old man presented to the emergency department (ED) with lower abdominal pain and constipation. He related chronic ingestion of large amounts of opium. Physical examination showed mild abdominal tenderness and gingival discoloration. Diagnostic studies showed a mild hypochromic, microcytic anemia with basophilic stippling of the red blood cells. Abdominal imaging showed no intra-abdominal pathology. A diagnosis of lead toxicity was confirmed through serum lead levels. The patient was put on chelation therapy and his signs and symptoms started to resolve. As a comprehensive search for other sources of lead was unsuccessful, opium adulterants were considered as the culprit. Chemical analysis of the opium confirmed this. Contaminated drugs have been reported as a source of exposure to toxins such as arsenic or lead. While other reports deal with patients from clinics, this report illustrates lead toxicity from ingestion of contaminated opium in the ED.

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Molar Pregnancy in the Emergency Department

A 15-year-old female presented to the emergency department with complaints of vaginal bleeding. She was pale, anxious, cool and clammy with tachycardic, thready peripheral pulses and hemoglobin of 2.4g/dL. Her abdomen was gravid appearing, approximately early to mid-second trimester in size. Pelvic examination revealed 2 cm open cervical os with spontaneous discharge of blood, clots and a copious amount of champagne-colored grapelike spongy material. After 2L boluses of normal saline and two units of crossmatched blood, patient was transported to the operating room. Surgical pathology confirmed a complete hydatidiform mole.

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Paramedics’ Ability to Perform Drug Calculations

The ability to perform drug calculations accurately is imperative to patient safety. Research into paramedics’ drug calculation abilities was first published in 2000 and for nurses’ abilities the research dates back to the late 1930s. Yet, there have been no studies investigating an undergraduate paramedic student’s ability to perform drug or basic mathematical calculations. The objective of this study was to review the literature and determine the ability of undergraduate and qualified paramedics to perform drug calculations.

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Promoting International Emergency Medicine through WestJEM

  Author Affiliation Mark I. Langdorf, MD, MHPE University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Orange, CA Francesco Della Corte, MD University of Eastern Piedmont School of Medicine, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Critical Emergency Medicine, Novara, Italy Roberta Petrino, MD St. Andrea Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine, Vercelli, Italy […]

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Factors Associated With False-Positive Emergency Medical Services Triage for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

In 2005, Orange County California Emergency Medical Services (EMS) initiated a field 12-lead program to minimize time to emergency percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for field-identified acute myocardial infarction (MI). As the program matured, “false-positive” (defined as no PCI or coronary artery occlusion upon PCI) field MI activations have been identified as a problem for the program.

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Chilaiditi’s Syndrome

A 58-year-old man presented to the Emergency Department with a two-day history of vomiting, diarrhea and intermittent central abdominal pain.

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Boarder Patrol: A Reform Policy for America’s Paralyzed Emergency Departments

  Author Affiliation Peter J. Bloomfied, MD, MPH Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, Sylmar, CA; Brotman Medical Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, Culver City, CA Adam B. Landman, MD, MS, MIS Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, New Haven, CT; US Department […]

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CAL/ACEP Joins CAL/AAEM and UC Irvine in Sponsoring the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine

  Author Affiliation William K. Mallon, MD Immediate Past-President, California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians Stuart P. Swadron, MD Immediate Past-President, California Chapter of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine When you look at the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine’s (WestJEM) cover and masthead this month you will see something new: two logos […]

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Contact Information

WestJEM/ Department of Emergency Medicine
UC Irvine Health

3800 W Chapman Ave Ste 3200
Orange, CA 92868, USA
Phone: 1-714-456-6389


ISSN: 1936-900X
e-ISSN: 1936-9018

ISSN: 2474-252X

Our Philosophy

Emergency Medicine is a specialty which closely reflects societal challenges and consequences of public policy decisions. The emergency department specifically deals with social injustice, health and economic disparities, violence, substance abuse, and disaster preparedness and response. This journal focuses on how emergency care affects the health of the community and population, and conversely, how these societal challenges affect the composition of the patient population who seek care in the emergency department. The development of better systems to provide emergency care, including technology solutions, is critical to enhancing population health.