Risk Management Pitfalls In The Use Of Diagnostic Ultrasound To Evaluate Pediatric Patients In The Emergency Department
“While caring for a child with possible intussusception, I couldn’t obtain a good view of the abdomen on my emergency ultrasound, so I assumed it was not intussusception, and I discharged the patient.”
Emergency ultrasound is meant to answer yes or no questions. If your examination is technically inadequate or if you are unsure that you adequately answered your clinical question based on the images, then order a radiology-performed ultrasound or another available imaging study.
“I did not see any abnormalities on my emergency ultrasound, so I told the patient’s parents everything was normal, and that she could be discharged home.”
Emergency ultrasound is meant to be a limited study to answer focused clinical questions. It is not meant to be a comprehensive organ system assessment. Patients and caregivers should understand the limited nature of the bedside ultrasound.
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