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Until the Next Foreign Body: Recognizing Excellence at all Levels


Written by Dr. Gregory M. Taylor, Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine

When excellence in medicine is demonstrated, it should be recognized at all levels. Oftentimes members of our staff do not get the shout-out they deserve. We personally give a shout-out to everyone including techs and nurses, especially nurses Brenda Ireland and Candace Hanrahan. From the complex cases involving a cardiac arrest, a polytrauma, or the simple foreign body, nurses should be recognized for excellence and when they go above and beyond.

We recently had a small child come in with a nasal foreign body. It was small toy and was lodged deep. The family was already pretty anxious. Using the available equipment we had, we tried everything-ranging from forceps, to suction, to the mom helping blow into the other nostril to generate some air flow out the other nostril. We couldn’t use dermabond since the foreign body was so deep. Thus far, we were unsuccessful. The family was becoming more anxious due to the long ER stay. I discussed the case with ENT who wanted to take the patient to the OR the next day to remove it. The mom and dad asked if there was anything else that could be done as they did not want their child to wait a day, and potentially aspirate at home. I mentioned there was one technique I completed once during residency and a couple times overseas on medical trips. It was more of a MacGyver technique involving a balloon catheter. The nursing team began calling around to GI/surgery departments, OR, ENT, looking for something we could use. They continued to comfort the family and show compassion while we worked to try to avoid the OR. We were able to get a 3 French fogarty catheter (used in GI/vascular procedures) from central supply (see attached image). I inserted it past the foreign body, balloon inflated, and the toy was pulled out in seconds.

Mom and dad were elated.  They even said that they wanted our team if/when their other child puts something in their nose! We shared some laughs. Without our dedicated nurses, we could not have pulled this off and this child would have been taken to the OR. Nurses like Brenda Ireland and Candace Hanrahan are why I chose Ball Memorial Hospital to practice emergency medicine, with nurses that truly go above and beyond.

Until the next foreign body…