Similar to outer space, the stratosphere experiences freezing temperatures, with atmospheric pressures and oxygen levels far below the level required for human survival. Exposure to this environment causes unique injuries to the human body that can be deadly if the correct management is not promptly initiated. The preceding decades are filled with stories of deadly failures from such exposures and marked achievement as we began to explore this section of our outer atmosphere. Through advances in technology, we have developed pressure suits and vehicles used for high altitude and outer space that provide protection and allow us to not only survive, but also explore these dangerous environments. The recent high altitude missions are examples of the remarkable capability of human innovation and ingenuity. These missions have fostered an explosion of interest and wonder, creating new demand for a commercial space industry that was virtually nonexistent in the previous century. Though recent tragedies have temporarily delayed the travel of eager citizens into space, the boom of the commercial space industry is pushing forward with new promises of space exploration available to the next paying customer, anticipated in the next few years.
Part of the book: Into Space
Ultrasound has dramatically influenced the practice of emergency medicine in the twenty-first century. From its introduction to the medical landscape in the 1950s, it has been studied and utilized in various diagnostic exams and procedural guidance. Bedside ultrasound allowed emergency physicians easy access to immediate imaging, giving them the means to make management decisions quicker and improve quality of care. Ultrasound has demonstrated utility in examination of the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, biliary system, uterus, ovaries, testicles, eyes and many other structures in the body. It decreases unsuccessful attempts and post-procedural complications in peripheral and central venous cannulation, pericardiocentesis, thoracentesis and other procedures. It has become a vital component of emergency medicine education and physicians now graduating with increased skills in ultrasound will continue to refine and develop its role in the emergent care of critically ill patients.
Part of the book: Essentials of Accident and Emergency Medicine