Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lucky Joe

The overhead intercom announced "Trauma times one to the ER.  Trauma times one to the ER."  Shortly thereafter, and prior to the arrival of the pending "GSW to the face," there were 15 docs, nurses, and technicians geared and gloved up awaiting the helicopter. 

As the Blackhawk landed outside the door on the helipad, everyone assumed their positions:  ER doc to the head of the bed, the surgeon and I at the foot, the nurses and respiratory technicians on each side awaiting or gun shot victim.  Then, nonchalantly, the medic from the helicopter walks through the door aside a man with a bandage around his head, and a large compress of gauze held into place against his left cheek. 

Someone ran around the corner to grab a bed - for this patient did not come in on a gurney or litter as per normal, but walked in, on his own accord.  We waited for the bed, and in those few seconds, the ER physician and he had the following conversation:

ER MD:  How are you?
Patient:  Shitty.  My face hurts.
ER MD: What happened?
Patient: I got shot in the face.
ER MD:  Did you lose consciousness or fall?
Patient: No.

The bed arrived, and the patient, again, who walked into the ER holding his face as if he had a toothache, was layed supine where a complete survey of his body was done in less than 1 minute.  His pants were cut off, though he walked into the ER, as soon as he layed down.  He was examined, radiographs and blood samples were taken.  He had a rectal exam, and something close to the following ensued:

Patient: Why are you checking my rectum?
ER MD: This is part of what we do in the evaluation of trauma patients.
Patient: Yeah, but I just got shot in the face.  Not in the butt.
ER MD: I understand, it will only take a minute.

It turns out that a sniper had shot this young man but only entered the left side of his cheek, with the bullet lodging in his sternocleidomastoid on the same size.  He is a lucky Joe.  So, we often get these patients from the front lines with no real background story, and there has to be a systematic approach to trauma patients, in order to avoid missing things that are catastrophic if not attended to. 

That said, this is pretty absurd.  And damn funny.

No comments:

Post a Comment