Monthly Archives: February 2017

A Better Way to Drain Abscesses: The Berlin Technique

One of the consequences of the heroin epidemic we all are experiencing is a marked increase in the number of skin abscesses presenting to the jail medical clinics.  Jails have always had to deal with skin abscesses.  In fact, the single most popular JailMedicine post has been the Photographic Tutorial on Abscess I&D (found here).  But since the heroin epidemic, the number of skin abscess we see has exploded.  It is not unusual nowadays to lance an abscess every day!

The reason for this big increase in skin infections, of course, is that heroin users tend to share needles to shoot up, and these dirty needles leave behind the bugs that cause abscesses.  And since shooting up causes the abscesses, they tend to be found where addicts commonly shoot up–like the inner elbow, the forearm and even overlying the jugular veins of the neck.

Fortunately, just in time for this onslaught of abscesses, my good friend Neelie Berlin PA taught me a new method of lancing simple abscesses that is quicker and easier—yet just as effective—as the method I had been using for my entire career. I’m going to call this new method of draining abscesses “The Berlin Method.”

Who says you can’t teach an old Doc new tricks?  I have wholeheartedly gone over to the Berlin procedure.  It is THE method I use now to drain simple abscesses.

Today’s JailMedicine post is a pictographic tutorial on how to do this new easier method of lancing simple abscesses. Continue reading

ACCP Conference!

The list of educational opportunities specifically geared towards correctional medicine is woefully short.  We correctional specialists need to take advantage of as many of our own conferences as we can.

One excellent resource for several years has been the one day conference put on by the American College of Correctional Physicians (formally known as the Society of Correctional Physicians).  Historically, this conference has always been held on the Sunday before the NCCHC National Conference held in October.  These ACCP conferences have always been excellent, but only held then.

This year, however, is different.  This year, the ACCP is also hosting a spring conference tied to yet another excellent educational opportunity in correctional medicine: the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health.  The Academic Consortium conference will be held this year in Atlanta on March 16th and 17th.  ACCP’s one day conference will be held immediately afterwards, on March 18th, a Saturday. Continue reading