Increased Consults for “Cold Extremities” Occurring During Snowstorm, ER Docs Puzzled

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Jersey City, NJ—a shortage of vascular surgeons has been discovered in the north- east due to an absurd amount a vascular consults in the middle of the night for “cold extremities” by the emergency department. Emergency physicians remain puzzled of the exact cause of the increased incidence of this vascular pathology, which seems to occur more often between the months of November and February.

A local ED physician said “there’s really nothing worse than having a patient with a cold limb come into the ER and you have no idea what to do. Consulting the specialist in every situation is what we were trained to do, and we’re particularly good at that”.

The CDC began a retrospective chart review that showed the majority of consults occurred either in the coldest month of the year, or during an actual snow storm. Additionally, many patients were described as having up to all 4 extremities feel cold by the ED physician, prompting urgent vascular surgery consultation.

“Our training may be shorter than almost every other specialty, but pulse or no pulse, we know a cold extremity when we feel one”. –ED physician

Due to the increased hours worked by vascular surgeons in response to these consults, the Society for Vascular Surgery has decided to place all of its funding into additional conferences and education materials for non-surgical specialties. It was initially proposed to divide overnight call with orthopedic surgery and podiatry, but due to the almost guaranteed risk of increased mortality with their intervention compared to simply doing nothing, the idea was dismissed.

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