Back when I was a GP, I did some locums in an incredibly remote place where the total population was pretty much me and a nurse. Between the delirious bouts of cabin fever, I would sometimes, rarely, muster the energy to actually practice something that one day might be useful. So one day I asked for the intubation kit. The kind nurse procured a dirty old plastic bag containing some dusty size 9 tubes, a McGill’s forceps and a plastic laryngoscope.
A plastic laryngoscope is an abomination. They look wrong, feel wrong and are just plain wrong in so many ways. No surprise then, how several studies demonstrate how they are inferior to stainless steel laryngoscopes. Here’s one. Published in Am J Emerg Med 2011 vol 29. According to this study, first-pass-success is 10% better with stainless steel blades than plastic ones.
The study has weaknesses, and perhaps all it proves is how paramedics don’t like plastic laryngoscopes. But then again, who does?