Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jazz Hands

Last night at my St. John Ambulance Volunteer First Aid Response Services meeting we had some good training on Scene Survey and Primary Survey protocols.

One of the general questions was “What are the names given to certain types of abnormal posturing you may see as a result of a serious head injury?”.  I replied “Decorticate and decerebrate!”.

“Good!” said our instructor, “But which is which?”.  “Decorticate is flexing inwards, decerebrate is extending outwards!” I said.

“Wow”, asked another member, “How do you you remember all of these things?”.  “Oh, he’s a medical geek for that kind of stuff” said another.

“No no, that’s not it at all! It took me a long time to get a mnemonic for this!  Decorticate is inwards to the core, decerebrate is outwards in celebration!” I explained.

Our instructor continued, “You will rarely see these types of posturing, and usually because of a really bad head injury”.

I chimed in, “Of course, the way you can tell if it’s a serious neurological insult is if they’re doing jazz hands.  Anyone who does that has a definite brain injury”.

I swear if they had bread rolls they’d have pelted me with them.


rupertmillard said...


I like your mnemonic! (I Googled "decorticate decerebrate mnemonic" to try to find one, and your blog came up!)

Many thanks,


Morpheus said...

Awesome, thanks Rupert!