Trauma University – Part 1: What Are These Things …


LaryngoscopeEndotracheal tube… and what are they doing on an author website?


The instrument on the left is a laryngoscope. The tube on the right is an endotracheal tube. They are used to intubate patients who cannot breathe for themselves, such as those who are undergoing general anesthesia for surgery, or who have a medical condition that precludes them from getting adequate oxygen into the lungs. Severe pneumonia,  bilateral pulmonary contusions, and cardiac arrest are three examples of the latter.


To intubate a patient, the blade of the laryngoscope is placed into the pharynx (the back of the throat) and used to lift the base of the tongue. This maneuver exposes the vocal cords, which reside in the larynx. The endotracheal tube is then advanced through the vocal cords and about three centimeters into the trachea. The balloon is inflated to produce an airtight seal, and the tube is connected to a mechanical ventilator with corrugated plastic tubing.  


Why am I telling you this? If you find medical and surgical stuff fascinating, you might be interested in my stories. The Final Push is a short story that nicely represents my writing style. It’s the first piece of fiction I wrote and has served as a precursor for everything I’ve written since. The style is similar to what you will see in the McBride trilogy of novels—The Organ Takers, The Organ Growers, and The Organ Killers—so if you like The Final Push, you’ll like the McBride trilogy. 


For more surgical terminology, jargon, and instrumentation, go here.


To learn more about The Final Push and to read an excerpt, go here.   


To learn more about The Organ Takers and to read an excerpt, go here. 



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