AEM Education and Training 12: Attitudes, Behavior, and Comfort of Emergency Medicine Residents in Caring for LGBT Patients: What do we know?

Welcome to the twelfth episode of AEM Education and Training, a podcast collaboration between the Academic Emergency Medicine E&T Journal and Brown Emergency Medicine. Each quarter, we'll give you digital open access to AEM E&T Articles or Articles in Press, with an author interview podcast and links to curated supportive educational materials for EM learners and medical educators.

Find this podcast series on iTunes here.


Attitudes, Behavior, and Comfort of Emergency Medicine Residents in Caring for LGBT Patients: What Do We Know? Joel Moll MD, Paul Krieger MD, Sheryl L. Heron MD MPH, Cara Joyce PhD, Lisa Moreno‐Walton MD


Joel Moll, MD, FACEP

Residency Program Director

Associate Professor

Department of Emergency Medicine

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine



Although lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients are ubiquitous in emergency medicine (EM), little education is provided to EM physicians on LGBT health care needs and disparities. There is also limited information on EM physician behavior, comfort, and attitudes toward LGBT patients. The objective of this study was to assess EM residents behavior, comfort, and attitudes in LGBT health.


An anonymous survey link was sent to EM programs via the Council of Residency Director listserv. The primary outcome of the 24‐item descriptive survey was the self‐reported comfort levels and self‐reported practice in LGBT health care. Secondary outcomes included individual comfort toward LGBT colleagues and patients who are LGBT, and the frequency of colleagues making discriminatory statements toward LGBT patients and staff in the emergency department setting. Associations between personal and program demographics and survey responses were also examined.


There were 319 responses The majority of respondents were male (63.4%), Caucasian (69.1%), and heterosexual (92.4%). A sizeable minority of respondents felt histories and physical examinations were more challenging for lesbian, gay, or bisexual patients (24.6%) and more so for transgender patients (42.6%). Most residents do not ask patients to identify sexual orientation when presenting with abdominal or genital complaints (63%). Discriminatory LGBT comments were reported from both fellow residents (16.6%) and faculty (10%). A total of 2.5% of respondents were uncomfortable with other LGBT physicians, and 6% did not agree that LGBT patients deserve the same quality care as others.


A number of residents find caring for LGBT patients more challenging than heterosexual patients. Even with professed comfort with LGBT health care, most residents report taking incomplete sexual histories that may affect patient care. Attitudes toward LGBT patients are mainly, but not completely, positive in this cohort.

Subtalar Dislocations


A 24 year-old male presents with right foot pain after falling off of a 12 foot ladder, his foot locked in supination, with obvious deformed (Figure 1). Pulses, sensation, and motor function intact distally. X-rays are ordered (Figure 2).

Figure 1: Right foot physical examination findings.  Pictures:

Figure 1: Right foot physical examination findings.


Figure 2: Plain films of right foot.

Figure 2: Plain films of right foot.


Subtalar dislocation


This is a rare injury; it accounts for approximately 1 – 2% of all dislocations. This can look similar to an ankle dislocation on examination, but the tibiotalar joint and mortise are intact.

These injuries typically from a high energy mechanism such as a fall from height or high energy motor vehicle collision (MVC). Typically to cause this dislocation, an axial load is applied when the patient has a plantar flexed foot. Patients may get these injuries from lower energy mechanisms such as sport injuries or fall from standing, especially if the patient is elderly or obese. Most injuries tend to be male (3:1 ratio) and in the third decade of life.

Subtalar dislocation is the disruption of the articulation of both the talocalcaneal and the talonavicular joints with an intact ankle joint mortis. This involves disruption of the surrounding ligaments: interosseous talocalcaneal ligament (most important), anterior talocalcaneal ligament, posterior talocalcaneal ligament, lateral talocalcaneal ligament, and medial talocalcaneal ligament.

Approximately 25% of these injuries are open upon presentation to the ED. There is high risk of skin necrosis from tenting over malleolus or talar head, which can convert these injuries to open dislocations.

Types of Subtalar Dislocations

The vast majority of subtalar dislocations are either medial (85%) or lateral (15%). Anterior and posterior dislocations can also occur.

Medial Subtalar Dislocation

This is the most common type of subtalar dislocation. It typically results from an inversion injury with a plantar flexed foot. It is sometimes called “basketball foot” as this is a common mechanism. Another term for this injury is “acquired clubfoot.” On physical exam, you will find that the foot is inverted, the calcaneus is displaced medially, and the foot is locked in supination.

On AP x-ray, the calcaneus will be displaced medially (Figure 3). Lateral x-ray will show that the talar head is superior to the navicular (Figure 4).

Figure 3: AP view of medial subtalar dislocation.

Figure 3: AP view of medial subtalar dislocation.

Figure 4: Lateral view of medial subtalar dislocation showing that the head of the talus is superior to the navicular.

Figure 4: Lateral view of medial subtalar dislocation showing that the head of the talus is superior to the navicular.

Lateral Subtalar Dislocation

Lateral subtalar dislocations account for around 15% of subtalar dislocations. On physical examination, you will find that the foot is everted, the calcaneus is lateral to talus, and the foot is locked in pronation. AP x-ray will show lateral displacement of the calcaneus (Figure 5). On lateral views, the talar head with be inferior to the navicular (Figure 6). Lateral dislocations tend to result from higher mechanism injuries; therefore, these injuries are more likely to be open and have more associated injuries.

Figure 5: AP view of a lateral subtalar dislocation.

Figure 5: AP view of a lateral subtalar dislocation.

Figure 6: Lateral view of lateral subtalar dislocation showing the head of the talus is inferior to the navicular

Figure 6: Lateral view of lateral subtalar dislocation showing the head of the talus is inferior to the navicular

Figure 7: Physical exam findings for a lateral subtalar dislocation.

Figure 7: Physical exam findings for a lateral subtalar dislocation.

Anterior and Posterior Dislocations

There are case reports of anterior and posterior dislocations, but these are exceedingly rare. They account for around 1% of subtalar dislocations.

Reduction technique

Reduction should be attempted rapidly due to the threat of skin necrosis if dislocation is prolonged. Reduction should occur prior to obtaining radiographs (either immediately upon presentation to the ED or in the field) if the foot has obvious neurovascular compromise such as absent or thready dorsalis pedis or posterior tibial pulse, decreased capillary refill, or lack of sensation to the bottom of the foot. Obtaining a thorough vascular and sensory exam of the foot before and after any reduction attempts is key. Often procedural sedation is necessary to perform this procedure. The approach to reduction is as follows:

  • Knee bent at 90 degrees to relax gastrocnemius and soleus muscles

  • Apply traction at heel and counter-traction to thigh

  • Accentuate deformity followed by reversal.

    • Medial dislocations: Further invert, pull traction, and then evert

    • Lateral dislocations: Further evert, pull traction, and then invert

  • Apply a splint – short posterior slab splint with side gussets

  • If reduction is successful, then obtain post-reduction x-rays and CT scan of foot and ankle. It is recommended that the patient is non-weight bearing in short leg cast for 4 to 6 weeks.

Associated injuries

Given that most of these injuries occur from a high degree force to the foot, it is not surprising that many of patients have other foot and ankle injuries in addition to the subtalar dislocation. Approximately 55% of medial subtalar dislocations and 72% of lateral dislocations have associated injuries. Common associated injuries include osteochondral lesions of the talus, subtalar debris, ankle fractures, 5th metatarsal fracture, navicular fracture, and cuboid fracture. Given the high percentage of associated injuries and that some of the associated injuries are difficult to see on plain radiographs, it is recommended to get a CT scan of the ankle and foot after reduction. In a case series of 9 patients, CT scan showed additional injuries missed on plain film in 100% of cases, and the CT changed the treatment in 44% of the cases. Fortunately, neurovascular injury and chronic subtalar joint instability are rare complications.


Approximately 30% of injuries are not reducible by closed means. In medial dislocations, the capsule of the talonavicular joint, peroneal tendons, or the extensor digitorum brevis (EDB) muscle can block reduction. The talar head can “button hole” through the EDB which blocks reduction. In lateral dislocations, the posterior tibialis tendon, flexor halluces longus, or flexor digitorum longus can be interposed into the joint space and block reduction. These injuries are also associated with contusions or lacerations of the posterior tibial artery and nerve.

Open subtalar dislocations have an infection rate of approximately 30% even with aggressive irrigation in the OR. Appropriate antibiotics prophylaxis should be given immediately upon recognizing an open fracture. Cefazolin is sufficient coverage for skin flora in most cases without obvious contamination and with minimal soft tissue damage. If the patient is high risk for MRSA, vancomycin coverage can also be added. For patients with severe soft tissue injury or gross contamination coverage should be expanded to ampicillin-sulbactam, cefoxitin, or cefotetan. If there is exposure to water, then Pseudomonas coverage should be added with an agent like cefepime. If fecal contamination is possible or there is concern for clostridial exposure (agricultural injuries), then high dose penicillin should be used as an adjunct.

Figure 8: Open medial subtalar dislocation.

Figure 8: Open medial subtalar dislocation.

There also is a risk of avascular necrosis of the talus or navicular after a subtalar dislocation. This is a rare complication more likely to occur after lateral subtalar dislocation. This is more common with tibiotalar dislocation when the ankle mortise is disrupted.

Many patients will go on to have chronic pain in their ankle (30 - 63%); intraarticular debris fragments and open injuries increase the risk of this.

Take Home Points

  • Subtalar dislocations often occur after a high mechanism injury to the foot while it is plantar flexed

  • Medial subtalar dislocations are more common

  • Lateral subtalar dislocations are more likely to be open and to have other associated injuries

  • Open dislocations have very high infection risk even with prompt and appropriate care

  • Fast reduction is key. Put the knee at 90 degrees, apply traction, recreate the injury and then reverse it

  • Get appropriate antibiotics on board quickly for open fractures

  • Approximately 30% of the time, closed reduction is impossible as the dislocated bone is caught on adjacent structures

  • Get a CT scan after reduction to look for other injuries

Faculty Reviewer: Dr. Mark Greve


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  2. Bibbo, C., Lin, S.S., and Abidi, N. 2001. Missed and associated injuries after subtalar dislocation: the role of CT. Foot and Ankle International, 22(4).

  3. DeLee, C. 1982. Subtalar dislocation of the foot. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 64(3): 433-437.

  4. Gustilo RB, Anderson JT. 1976. Prevention of infection in the treatment of one thousand and twenty-five open fractures of long bones: retrospective and prospective analyses. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 58:453.

  5. Gustilo RB, Gruninger RP, Davis T. 1987. Classification of type III (severe) open fractures relative to treatment and results. Orthopedics, 10:1781.

  6. Horning, J. 2009. Subtalar dislocation. Orthopedics, 32(12): 904.

  7. Melenevsky, Y., Mackey, R.A., Abrahams, B., and Thomson, N.B. 2014. Talar fractures and dislocations: a radiologist’s guide to timely diagnosis and classification. Retrieved 7/29/17 from

  8. Schmitt, SK. 2018. Osteomyelitis associated with open fractures in adults: preventative antibiotics after open fractures. UpToDate, retrieved on 1/24/19 from

  9. Weatherford, B. 2017. Subtalar dislocations. Retrieved on 7/29/17 from

  10. Weir, A. 2015. MR:EM subtalar dislocation. Retrieved on 7/29/17 from

  11. Wheeless, C.R. 2012. Wheeless’ Textbook of Orthopaedics: Sub Talar Dislocation. Retrieved on 7/29/17 from

  12. Yoder, W., Nelson, P., Bowen, M., and Frania, S. 2011. Chapter 11: Talocalcaneal navicular dislocation. Retrieved on 7/29/17 from

AEM Early Access 25: Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Procedural Amnesia and Respiratory Depression Between Moderate and Deep Sedation With Propofol in the Emergency Department

Welcome to the twenty-fifth episode of AEM Early Access, a FOAMed podcast collaboration between the Academic Emergency Medicine Journal and Brown Emergency Medicine. Each month, we'll give you digital open access to an recent AEM Article or Article in Press, with an author interview podcast and suggested supportive educational materials for EM learners.

Find this podcast series on iTunes here.

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Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Procedural Amnesia and Respiratory Depression Between Moderate and Deep Sedation With Propofol in the Emergency Department. Alexandra Schick, MD, Brian Driver, MD, Johanna C. Moore, MD/MPH, Erik Fagerstrom, and James R. Miner, MD



Alexandra Schick, MD

Resident Physician, Brown Emergency Medicine

Twitter: @allie_schickMD


Objectives: The objective was to determine if there is a difference in procedural amnesia and adverse respiratory events (AREs) between the target sedation levels of moderate (MS) and deep (DS) procedural sedation.

Methods: This was a prospective, randomized clinical trial of consenting adult patients planning to undergo DS with propofol between March 5, 2015, and May 24, 2017. Patients were randomized to a target sedation level of MS or DS using the American Society of Anesthesiologist's definitions. Drug doses, vital signs, observer's assessment of alertness/sedation (OAAS) score, end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2 ), and the need for supportive airway maneuvers (SAMs; bag-valve mask use, repositioning, and stimulation to induce respirations) were monitored continuously. A standardized image was shown every 30 seconds starting 3 minutes before the procedure continuing until the patient had returned to baseline after the procedure. Recall and recognition of images were assessed 10 minutes after the sedation. Subclinical respiratory depression (RD) was defined as SaO2 ≤ 91%, change in ETCO2 ≥ 10 mm Hg, or absent ETCO2 at any time. The occurrence of RD with a SAM was defined as an ARE. Patient satisfaction, pain, and perceived recollection and physician assessment of procedure difficulty were collected using visual analog scales (VASs). Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and Wilcoxon rank-sum test.

Results: A total of 107 patients were enrolled: 54 randomized to target MS and 53 to DS. Of the patients randomized to target MS, 50% achieved MS and 50% achieved DS. In the target DS group, 77% achieved DS and 23% achieved MS. The median total propofol dose (mg/kg) was lower in the MS group: MS 1.4 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.3-1.6, IQR = 1) versus DS 1.8 (95% CI = 1.6-2.0, IQR = 0.9). There were no differences in median OAAS during the procedure (MS 2.4 and DS 2.8), lowest OAAS (MS 2 and DS 2), percentage of images recalled (MS 4.7% vs. DS 3.8%, p = 0.73), or percentage of images recognized (MS 61.1% vs. DS 55%, p = 0.52). In the MS group, 41% patients had any AREs compared to 42% in the DS group (p = 0.77, 95% CI difference = -0.12 to 0.24). The total number of AREs was 23% lower in the MS group (p = 0.01, 95% CI = -0.41 to -0.04). There was no difference in patient-reported pain, satisfaction, or recollection VAS scores. Provider's rating of procedural difficulty and procedural success were similar in both groups.

Conclusions: Targeting MS or DS did not reliably result in the intended sedation level. Targeting MS, however, resulted in a lower rate of total AREs and fewer patients had multiple AREs with no difference in procedural recall. As seen in previous reports, patients who achieved MS had less AREs than those who achieved DS. Our study suggests that a target of MS provides adequate amnesia with less need for supportive airway interventions than a target level of DS, despite the fact that it often does not result in intended sedation level.