Avoiding the ER: Wrist Fractures

ER doctors such as Dr. Josyann Abisaab often encounter unpleasant, remarkably painful and slow-healing injuries. One of the most common is a wrist or elbow fracture. People occasionally lose their balance or are knocked over while participating in a physical activity like skiing or mountain biking. Instinctually, they put out a hand or two to break their fall. This can easily result in a major gash or fracture which could take weeks or even months to heal properly. Occasionally physical therapy is needed, too. Sometimes the hand goes behind the body to break a backwards fall, which can result in an elbow injury as well.

There are a few things that can be done in advance to prevent such injuries:

1.       Train your instincts. Practice falling on a safer surface, and train yourself to react by tucking in your chin and rolling with the initial impact. If you can, try to fall on the back of your shoulder as this is a strong area of your body.

2.       Practice regaining your balance in a quick manner. Use a bike, or think of other ways to flex your balance muscles.

3.       It is important to wear a helmet and wrist guards. They may seem foolish, but they really can make a significant difference in a fall.

Halloween Safety Tips: Dr. Josyann Abisaab

Halloween is approaching, and already people can feel the excitement as they choose their costumes, make plans with trick-or-treat companions, and select pumpkins for their jack-o lanterns. Everyone is anticipating this fun, candy-filled night. Many ER doctors such as Dr. Josyann Abisaab and others have seen Halloween accidents first-hand, and, while Halloween night is certainly an exciting experience, parents are encouraged to be aware of the possible accidents that can occur.

The careful behavior should begin at home; children should not be allowed to carve pumpkins on their own. Pumpkin carvers, adults as well, should make sure to use a carving knife instead of a regular kitchen knife, so that their movements can be smoother and more controlled, even while cutting through the pumpkin’s thick skin. Also, make sure the handle of the knife is dry before it is used, to avoid slipping. If a cut on a finger or hand does occur, raise the area above the heart and apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If the bleeding persists, a visit to the ER might be necessary.

4th Annual Conference of The Lebanese Society of Emergency Medicine

Next month, a conference will take place from November 11-13 in Beirut, Lebanon of The Lebanese Society of Emergency Medicine.  This 4th annual conference, where Dr. Josyann Abisaab is on the Scientific and Organizational Committees, will include lectures and workshops about everything from Neuropsych and Trauma to Oncology, Cardiovascular Emergency, and even a Wilderness Medicine Track.

The conference is being co-sponsored by The Global Emergency Medicine Program at Weill Cornell Medical College/Division of Emergency Medicine, where Dr. Josyann Abisaab is a faculty member.  In addition to Dr. Abisaab, ten other faculty members from New York Presbyterian Hospital will participate in the conference in Lebanon.

Dealing with Asthma and Allergies at Night

Most people feel more sick during the night than they do during the day.  Unfortunately, this often means that your child’s fever spikes, or the cough worsens, during the hours when your doctor is usually not available.  This means that more parents end up being seen in the E.R. by doctors like Dr. Josyann Abisaab.  Some of the time, these E.R. visits, or frantic middle-of-the-night calls, could be avoided.

If your child has an allergy attack at night, an antihistamine should help to calm the symptoms.  Keep one on hand, and ask your doctor for a recommendation about which one to have available.  If your child has asthma, make sure to have a bronchodilator, a peak flow meter to watch your child’s breathing and preventative medicines like steroid medications around.

Take preventative steps as well to keep your child’s room allergy and asthma free.  Close the child’s windows, ban animals from the room, put all bedding into an allergy-proof cover, install hardwood flooring and use HEPA filters in your vacuum.

Traumatic Brain Injuries from Basketball Increasing: Dr. Josyann Abisaab

A new study published recently in Pediatrics highlights that more children and teenagers are suffering traumatic brain injuries while playing basketball.  Taking a ten year range from 1997 to 2007, researchers looked at visits to emergency rooms like the one where Dr. Josyann Abisaab works.  They found that, for people under the age of 20 treated for basketball related injuries, the number of traumatic brain injuries had shot up by 70%.

Overall, the traumatic brain injury proportions doubled for boys and tripled for girls during this time, said senior study author Dr. Laura B. McKenzie.

Certainly, doctors like Josyann Abisaab, researchers and centers like the Brain Trauma Foundation encourage coaches, athletes and parents to understand what causes traumatic brain injuries and to recognize the signs of a possible concussion.

Study Linking Sleep in Kids & Obesity: Dr. Josyann Abisaab

In a fascinating new study by Dr. Janice Bell and others from the University of Washington, they found that babies and children up until age 4 who didn’t sleep enough at night were more likely to be obese five years later than were their better-rested peers.   Those children who slept for less than 10 hours a night were 80% more likely to be obese five years later.

Bell believes that this is actually the first large, nationally representative study that links lack of sleep with childhood obesity.  Their study, in addition, did not find any differences by ethnicity or social status, as have other similar studies in the past.

Pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu said, in response to the study results, that it “gives parents one more reason to prioritize healthy sleeping habits in their young children’s lives.”

Certainly, with obesity on the rise in America and E.R. doctors like Dr. Josyann Abisaab seeing many complications from obesity, this study may be a helpful first step.

Emergency Room Treatment of Asthma: Dr. Josyann Abisaab

Asthma, according to The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, affects nearly 34 million Americans.  Each year, over 200,000 emergency room visits are due to allergy attacks, as are 300 deaths.  Serious asthma attacks may warrant a visit to the emergency room where doctors like Dr. Josyann Abisaab will assess the situation and treat the patient accordingly.

Once in the emergency room, there are a number of treatment techniques that doctors may use. These include:

  1. A nebulizer machine with bronchodilators.  These work to relax muscles around the bronchial tissue to help with better breathing.
  2. Iptratropium combined with nebulized albuterol is often used for acute asthma attacks in the E.R.  This helps to stop spasms of the muscles surrounding lung tissue.
  3. An intravenous injection of corticosteroids may be given to reduce the inflammatory processes.
  4. In severe situations, patients may be treated with an injection of adrenergic medications including epinephrine or terbutaline.

Oxygen may be administered through a breathing mask and a pulse oxymeter will most likely be placed on a finger or earlobe to evaluate blood oxygen concentration levels.  While the administration of oxygen won’t stop the attack, it will provide more oxygen to the blood and may help to prevent death.

Learning about Lyme Disease: Dr. Josyann Abisaab

Lyme disease is an infection which is often misunderstood by parents and misidentified by the health community.  One of the reasons for the confusion is that Lyme disease manifests in many different ways in the body.  Another reason is that it varies so widely from state to state.

The most classic symptom of Lyme disease, and the one that most doctors like Dr. Josyann Abisaab, will ask you about is a rash.  The circular rash occurs at the site of the tick bite approximately 7-14 days after the initial bite. The rash actually resembles a bulls-eye.  Other symptoms are commonly flu-like symptoms including fever, muscle aches, chills, headache, fatigue and joint pains.

Unfortunately, when Lyme disease goes untreated, it can cause many problems including continued fever and fatigue, swollen glands, pink eye, aseptic meningitis, Bell’s palsy, arthritis and concentration problems.

If you live in an area where Lyme disease is more common, like in the Northeastern area of the United States, and you are exhibiting these types of symptoms, you should seek attention from a medical professional.

Good News for Cardiac Arrest Patients

New research and training could mean that there is an increase in the survival rate of cardiac arrest patients as well as a reduction in brain damage of these same individuals.  The new treatment – cooling therapy – is being taught to New York City paramedics.  This is definitely welcome news for those working in the ER, such as Josyann Abisaab MD, Assistant Attending Physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation Updates

An upcoming conference on the new American Heart Association guidelines, is due to take place on November 12, 2010 at McCormick Place, Chicago, IL.  At this conference, participants will be given the opportunity to learn about resuscitation science, education and training.  Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) combines the teaching of rescue breathing and chest compressions for individuals who appear to be in cardiac arrest.  Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops pumping blood.  Even if you don’t have the capacities of an ER doctor, having CPR knowledge can bridge the gap between an attack and the arrival of an ambulance which definitely makes life easier for ER doctors such as Josyann Abisaab MD, Assistant Attending Physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

3 Health Hazards for Kids During the Summer

Summer is a time when children have more time off and more time to explore and to enjoy.  At the same time, emergency room doctors like Josyann Abisaab see a great deal of avoidable injuries in the summer.  Keep these tips in mind as you enjoy your summer with your children.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death among young children.  Children shouldn’t be left unattended while in a bath, pool, lake or other body of water and home swimming pools should be protected and securely locked.

Since people drive more during the summer, there is an increased rate of car accidents.  Make sure that children are always buckled and that they are always in the age-appropriate car seats while traveling.  Heat and dehydration also cause a great deal of E.R. visits.  Never leave a child in the car and keep kids well hydrated during the summer.

Josyann Abisaab and Award for Service

Dr. Josyann Abisaab was recently presented with an award “for devoting 20 years to helping establish and nurture Emergency Medicine as a clinical and academic specialty.”  This is not the first time the MD has received an award for her dedication and services.  In 2009 Abisaab was likewise awarded a citation for two decades of service in medicine.  This was connected to her work at Weill Cornell Medical College and at that time, the college’s dean, Dean Gotto, was pictured with her at the ceremony.  In June 2010 however, the award was presented at the New York Presbyterian Residency Graduation Ceremony.

Lifesaving Work at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Recent news from the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is that a five month old baby underwent a liver transplant due to liver failure that was caught after she was born 10 weeks early.  She breaks records in that at just 4 pounds, she was one of “the smallest babies ever to successfully receive a liver transplant.”  It was Dr. Tomoaki Kato, surgical director of liver and intestine transplant programs at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, and chief of abdominal organ transplantation and professor of surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons who performed the surgery a few months ago.  Shortly after she was born, she was sent to NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital where an “irreversible liver injury of unknown origin” was diagnosed.  A suitable liver had to be found for her which took two weeks.  The NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is known as being a highly reputable institution but this latest surgery will add to its prestige.

Managing Burns

Sometimes people are unsure whether or not they need to go to the emergency room.   But there are certain cases when it is completely clear cut, like with a burn.  If you or someone you are with is the victim of a burn, do not hesitate; head straight for the ER or even call an ambulance. One might want to also read up on how to deal with burns, as the treatment depends on what kind of burn one is afflicted with. Workers at the ER should be aware of certain basic procedures when encountering a burn victim.

“Best Physicians” at New York-Presbyterian Hospital

Physicians working at New York-Presbyterian Hospital – like Josyann Abisaab who serves as the Assistant Attending Physician in the hospital’s ER department – should take pride in the latest prestige attached to the institution.  For the tenth consecutive year, it has “the most physicians listed in New York magazine’s ‘Best Doctors’ issue.”  President and CEO of the hospital Dr. Herbert Pardes spoke about what this means for his staff members: “Being a good doctor means having the experience and expertise to diagnose and treat complex medical problems, while employing exceptional communication skills and empathy. Most of all, it means caring for and improving the lives of patients and their families as a top priority.”  This indicates that the New York-Presbyterian Hospital is a place that employs extremely high caliber staff, which is something its workers can take pride in.