GI Bleed Time Saver

GI bleeders were frequent visitors to the medicine wards. At that time we would place an NG tube and lavage with cool saline for an acute bleed. This practice has since changed. After all that was over 40 years ago. The basic procedure was to fill large syringes with the saline and irrigate the stomach, then let the solution drain into a pan until hopefully the bleeding would stop or lessen. If speed was necessary it required 2 people so that a filled syringe would always be ready. Well what do they say about necessity? Someone came up with the idea to fill an enema bag with cool saline (and throw in some Maalox for good measure). A “t” connector was attached to the NG tube with the other 2 ports attached to the tubing from the enema bag and a plain suction tubing which was placed in a basin on the floor. Then using 2 large Kelly clamps we would unclamp the enema bag solution and allow some to flow into the patient, clamp and let it sit for a few minutes, then unclamp the suction tubing attached to the other port allowing the solution to drain from the stomach using gravity. Now the procedure became a one person operation. This was very important considering the additional activity that could be going on in the ward at the same time. I actually carried this idea with me and used it many times after I left Big Charity until it was no longer the standard of care.

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