In part 1 of this 2-part series, the authors review medical conditions with infectious, pharmacological, metabolic, autoimmune, traumatic, or CNS causes that can present as behavioral or psychiatric emergencies.
The chaos of a busy ED can test the cognitive reserve of even the most focused practitioner. To streamline the challenge of serial diagnosis and treatment, clinicians employ heuristics while honing the skills of pattern recognition. However, by definition, heuristics employs shortcuts, leaving out information for the sake of efficiency—sometimes at the expense of accuracy. Whether a patient presents with chest pain, abdominal pain, headache, or (the dreaded) dizziness, emergency physicians (EPs) employ algorithms based on a combination of education and prior experience.
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