Thursday, 28 July 2011

Energy Drinks

I was just reading a facinating case study about a patient who was admitted to an emergency department in London. The patient presented with repeated unexplained fits, he was unconscious, tachycardic(fast pulse) at 160 with an irregular rhythm. His oxygen saturations were 52% on air(should be over ninety, anything less than eighty is extremely worrying).  All this paints the picture of a patient in a lot of trouble. He had a past medical history of heroin and cocaine abuse however was in a halfway house following a successful rehabilitation process. His toxin screen and drug tests all came back negative but his blood ph was extremely acidic at 6.2 (I wasnt even aware this was compatible with life).

It turns out he had drunk a mug of coffee and six cans of red bull in the space of four hours. This had taxed his heart, brain and lungs.

My sister drinks loads of energy drinks more or less constantly. I cant help but wonder what effect these drinks are having on her and where they may lead.

Sunday, 24 July 2011


This comment started as my facebook status however one of my contacts(at the time very drunk) posted some incredibly inappropriate comments in reply so I felt I should move the original statement here and invite any who could present a sensible comment to do so.

Any loss of life is a tragedy however the fact Amy Winehouse is getting more media coverage than the ninety-five dead in Oslo and the twenty(potentially up to fifty) victims of that nurse in manchester suggess we have some serious priority problems in this country.

I will admit to having taken issue with Amy Winehouse in the past on the basis that anyone who has celebrity status has a responsibility as a role model. Amy influenced a new generation of teenage drunk junkies.However was she like that before she became famous? I refuse to believe anyone becomes addicted to anything willingly, some trigger usually provides the push. Her passing so young is very sad. I would not normally hazard a guess at cause of death before it has been officially released but I feel it is a safe bet that it is something drink or drug related.

On the other side of the coin, the near one hundred dead in Oslo were the victims of a randomised attack by an extremist. The victims gunned down at the youth camp made no choices that could have forseeably resulted in their deaths, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. As far as the bombing goes I have to admit my heart stopped when I heard a developed country had been bombed. Whilst the act was horrendous I am very glad the "terrorist" was a Norweign national and thus an internal issue. We all know the result of the last bombing on a developed western country by an eastern power.

Rebecca Leighton a twenty-seven year old nurse has been charged with deliberately contaminating bags and ampules of saline with insulin. We use saline for everything, mixing IV powders into liquids to be injected, we add drugs to bags of saline for long duration infusion and we very frequently give saline bags on their own as they are designed to quickly hydrate our patients. Where I work almost every patient has a bag of saline going up constantly. What sickens me is that all of our patients are vulnerable, they have placed their faith in us as nurses and the thought of someone abusing the trust has sent shockwaves throughout the nursing world. There are no good reasons insulin would be introduced into saline unless for immediate use. I just hope that this does not effect how safe my patients feel in my care,  I work really hard to build and maintain the crucial patient-nurse trust. And once again these were victims of the actions of another.

All three cases are tragic however I do feel hundreds of innocents dying superceeds the potential suicide or accidental overdose of a girl who knew which path she was on and where it would ultimately end.