Emerg Med J 30:155-156 doi:10.1136/emermed-2012-201565
  • Reflections on prehospital care

Prehospital lateral canthotomy

  1. Mark Bartlett
  1. Sydney Rescue Helicopter Base Bankstown Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christopher Hill, Sydney Rescue Helicopter Base Bankstown Hospital, Drover Road, Sydney, NSW 2200, Australia; cjhill{at}
  1. Contributors CH performed the procedure and wrote the case. CR, AT and BB edited and assisted in obtaining consent and images. MB assisted during the procedure.

  • Accepted 22 May 2012
  • Published Online First 2 July 2012


We present the case of a 21-year-old patient who required a prehospital lateral canthotomy following a penetrating injury to the head. This, the first recorded prehospital case, highlights the importance of this simple, potentially sight saving procedure and why it should be in the armamentarium of all prehospital emergency physicians.


Our patient was treated by the physician staffed Greater Sydney Area Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (GSA-HEMS) from its satellite base 100 km South of Sydney, Australia. GSA-HEMS covers the state of New South Wales providing medical teams for prehospital trauma response and interhospital critical care retrieval.

Case report

A GSA-HEMS medical team was called to the home of a previously healthy 21-year-old female subject who had reportedly been shot. On arrival, the team found the patient lying in the front room of …

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Among patients with minor TBI (GCS 13-15) getting CT scans ≥ 24 hours after injury, what proportion have a traumatic finding?


0.5% - 43% response rate
3% - 41% response rate
10% - 16% response rate

Related original article: PCT head imaging in patients with head injury who present after 24 h of injury: a retrospective cohort study

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