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The Agitated Patient

Fall 2013

Goldstein S. 13(3). 87 - 91. (Journal Article)


Caring for an agitated patient can be a daunting task for the tactical emergency medical support (TEMS) or Special Operations Forces (SOF) medic. The cause, degree, and duration of agitation can vary among such individuals. These patients create a high-stress and disruptive environment, needing numerous people involved to control. One agitated patient can disrupt an entire tactical team or casualty evacuation. The patient's history and physical examination can give important clues to the cause, thereby directing treatment and leading to a quick and safe resolution. The variety of treatments for the agitated patient are just as numerous as the causes and range from verbal deescalation to medications and physical restraint, all of which have a risk-benefit profile to consider.

Keywords: agitated patients; brain; TBI; hypoxia; hypoglycemia; hypothermia; delirium; ketamine; dissociative; combative; sedation

PMID: 24048996

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