Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 056

Just when you thought your brain could unwind on a Friday, you realise that it would rather be challenged with some good old fashioned medical trivia FFFF, introducing the Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 056

Question 1

What is the average speed at time of impact when a professional wrestler performs a body slam?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

23 miles per hour.

Apparently the kinetic energy released is about 1100 foot pounds. This all sounds very impressive until you use Wolfram Alpha to find out that it is only 0.32 x the energy released by the explosion of 1g of TNT. Pitiful really…

  • Wilton P, Fulco J, O’Leary J, Lee JT. Body slam is no sham. N Engl J Med. 1985 Jul 18;313(3):188-9. PMID: 4010719.

Question 2

What is the highest distance from the earth that micro-organisms have been found?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

A number of earth-based micro-organsims have been cultured from air in the earth’s stratosphere sampled from an altitude of 41km. These organisms include: Bacillus simplex, Staphylococcus pasteuri, and Engyodontium album.

  • Wainwright M, Wickramasinghe NC, Narlikar JV, Rajaratnam P. Microorganisms cultured from stratospheric air samples obtained at 41 km. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2003 Jan 21;218(1):161-5.  PMID: 12583913.

Question 3

What is the connection between Edgar Allan Poe, quackery and the history of informed consent?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Edgar Allan Poe’s 1845 tale ‘The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar‘ suggests that informed consent was an important issue even then. At the time people were concerned about the effects of mesmerism, especially in those who were dying. Poe’s story concerns the impending death of Monsieur Valdemar, who was dying from tuberculosis and has an aortic aneurysm. In a last ditch attempt at saving the man’s life, mesmerism is used. This is how the consent process is related:

“I spoke freely with M. Valdemar on the subject of his approaching dissolution, as well as, more particularly, of the experiment proposed. He still professed himself quite willing and even anxious to have it made, and urged me to commence it at once. A male and a female nurse were in attendance; but I did not feel myself altogether at liberty to engage in a task of this character with no more reliable witnesses than these people, in case of sudden accident, might prove. I therefore postponed operations until about eight the next night, when the arrival of a medical student with whom I had some acquaintance, (Mr. Theodore L—l,) relieved me from farther embarrassment. It had been my design, originally, to wait for the physicians; but I was induced to proceed, first, by the urgent entreaties of M. Valdemar, and secondly, by my conviction that I had not a moment to lose, as he was evidently sinking fast.

It wanted about five minutes of eight when, taking the patient’s hand, I begged him to state, as distinctly as he could, to Mr. L—l, whether he (M. Valdemar) was entirely willing that I should make the experiment of mesmerizing him in his then condition.

He replied feebly, yet quite audibly, “Yes, I wish to be. I fear you have mesmerized”—adding immediately afterwards, “deferred it too long.”

The old man died anyway — in Poe’s fiction, just like the real world, mesmerism proved to be just another form of quackery.

  • Altschuler EL. Informed consent in an Edgar Allen Poe tale. Lancet. 2003 Nov 1;362(9394):1504. PMID: 14602460.

Question 4

Which emergency physician podcaster does Mel Herbert of EMRAP admire for his ’20 inches’?

Reveal the funtabulous answer

Scott ’20 inches’ Weingart (of EMCrit.org)

In EMRAP March 2011 there was a segment by Scott on confirming the location of a central line. One of Scott’s tips was to check the column of pressure in the vessel by slipping an angiocath over your guidewire then connecting it to extension tubing and allowing it to fill with blood. If its in an artery the column height will indicate the blood pressure — the height in inches should not exceed half the systolic blood pressure (e.g. SBP 100mmHg, means the maximal allowable height of the column is 50 inches if you’re in a vein — ideally significantly less).  For a quick guide you can use the central line sheath that comes in the central line pack instead of extension tubing. If you known the length of your sheath, you’ve got a quick ready made guide — Scott’s is 20 inches.

Question 5

What type of food would you want handy if you had to deal with an emergency case of furuncular myiasis?

Reveal the funtabulous answer


The use of bacon therapy in the treatment of furuncular myiasis caused by the Bot fly and the Tumbu fly is described in Bringing Home the Bacon. Check out Food for Emergencies to learn about other nutritious options for dealing with medical emergencies.

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Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five

Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also a Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.

After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.

He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE.  He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.

His one great achievement is being the father of three amazing children.

On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.

| INTENSIVE | RAGE | Resuscitology | SMACC

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