Pain in the Neck

story about the Ottawa C-spine Rules — a protocol which safely allows practitioners to remove cervical collars quickly and safely  — and a study which validated their use by Emergency Department triage nurses. However, according to the study as actually published, the nurses only pretended to remove the c-collars. Nevertheless, the study’s authors contend this will be coming to an emergency department near you soon. Lovely idea. Getting patients off backboards (which, strictly speaking are a transport device anyway) and out of cervical collars will improve patient comfort and reduce wait times. Will the Ottawa C-Spine Rules actually be ever implemented anywhere?

Nope.  Never will happen, not in a million years, mostly for the same reasons that the similarly named Ottawa Ankle Rules are never used: inertia and CYA. And of course, any errors in assessment would be catastrophic.

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  1. #1 by mog on Tuesday 06 July 2010 - 1343

    I found it interesting that we used the Ottawa rules in the UK for knees and ankle x-rays but here in Ontario they are often ignored or misused.

  2. #2 by Art Doctor on Tuesday 06 July 2010 - 2059

    Rules, not necks, are meant to be broken. This is sad, and I’m glad we have great nurses like you :)

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