Tricks of the Trade: Let there be light!
In various ACEP News Tricks of the Trade columns, I have mentioned the importance of adequate lighting to visualize subtle injuries or pathologies. Traditional room overhead lighting is insufficient, especially if you are looking for that needle-in-a-haystack laceration in thick scalp hair or a tiny foreign body in a wound.
If you are using a traditional Tungsten penlight, you need to invest in a LED light source. LED penlights are very small (can fit on a keychain), super-bright, long-lasting, and costs only $3-30.
Alternatively, you can wear the LED light source, using a camping LED-light headgear, as I mentioned in an earlier blog. This is great for doing procedures where you need both your hands.
Other uses for strong lighting:
- Checking for reactive pupils in a brightly lit room. You’d hate to wonder if an equivocal eye exam is from a weak penlight or from head injury, for instance, in a trauma resuscitation.
- Looking for foreign bodies in general, such as in the nose, ear, wound, or any other orifice…
- Because I have the light on my keychain, I use it to help me open car and house doors.
This also makes a great gift for your colleagues, residents, or students. In bulk, LED lights can cost as little as $1 each. We buy these LED keychain lights with our residency logo on it for residency applicants, when they come to interview with us.
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