A patient is brought to the ED by her family after falling off the roof. A family member tells the nurse that when the patient fell she was knocked out, but came to and seemed okay. Now she is complaining of a severe headache and not feeling well. The care team suspects an epidural hematoma, prompting the nurse to prepare for which priority intervention?

Answer Explanation: An epidural hematoma is considered an extreme emergency. Marked neurologic deficit or respiratory arrest can occur within minutes. Treatment consists of making an opening through the skull to decrease ICP emergently, remove the clot, and control the bleeding. Antihypertensive medications would not be a priority. Anticoagulant therapy should not be ordered for a patient who has a cranial bleed. This could further increase bleeding activity. Insertion of an intracranial monitoring device may be done during the surgery, but is not priority for this patient.

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