Wednesday, 29 March 2017


I must apologise for the lack of a post this week, but unfortunately it seems that none of my patients have done anything particularly stupid lately.  Anyone who knows my patients' proclivity for gross stupidity may find this hard or even impossible to believe, but sadly it is true.  I got nothin'.

However, I feel somewhat guilty leaving all of my readers in the proverbial lurch, so in lieu of a stupid patient story this week, I'd like to share a few things that some of my readers and followers have made.

First, we have this little gem by Marc Draco (I assume that is his real name).  In case you aren't familiar with the Dunning-Kruger effect, it quite astutely (and accurately) describes people who are incapable of assessing their level of understanding of a subject and thus deem themselves more competent than actual experts.  Vani Hari (Food Babe), David Wolfe, and antivaxxers are prime examples.  Marc absolutely nailed it with this graphic:

Then there is this one, sent to me by @viva__lala (I'm pretty sure that is not her real name).  I don't know if there is an "emergency bracelet generator" out there, but if there is my 0.121 second Google search didn't turn it up.  
If anyone knows of a manufacturer that would be willing to make these, I bet I could sell at least 10 of these!  

The next one wasn't made by a reader or a Twitter follower.  Actually, it wasn't really "made" per se.  It's just a screenshot of a snippet of a conversation I had with a chiropractor I few months back, and somehow it got buried in my phone.  So I thought this would be the perfect place to deposit it.  I believe it speaks for itself:

And in case you're wondering, yes he meant that.  Whatever "that" is.

Finally, a personal bit of artwork presented without further introduction:

Surely everyone must be wondering what institution could possibly give me a doctorate in bullshit and why I would suffer through such an ordeal.  Well, I didn't.  A similar diploma can be yours all for the bargain basement price of zero, zip, zilch, nada.  Just go to, and earn a doctorate for yourself.

Now if you excuse me, I have to go back to hoping my patients start acting stupid again.

Monday, 20 March 2017


Before anyone starts attacking me, yes I know it could be spelled "yutes" or "utes", but according to the official script, it is "yoots", so I went with Yoots.  Just like the original patent for toilet paper shows it going over the roll, I consider that orientation to be correct.  And if you have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, go watch "My Cousin Vinny".  Right now.  Go.  Do it.  And do not come back until Vinny and Mona Lisa are driving back to New York.

You're back?  Good.

I've often said that youth is wasted on the young, but then again so did George Bernard Shaw well before I first did (although his exact quote was “Youth is the most beautiful thing in this world—and what a pity that it has to be wasted on children!”).  In fact, I just told my children exactly that just a few days ago (the short version) when they were complaining about some movie not streaming fast enough.  At the time I decided not to delve into what it was like in the time before movie rentals when you just had to watch what as on TV, and then years later what it was like driving to a store to rent a movie, hoping they had the one you wanted, driving back to the store to return it, and paying late fees and fees for not rewinding (aka "The Good Old Days").  So instead I started boringly lecturing them on why they should be outside enjoying the weather, playing, frolicking, gamboling, and cavorting or whatever, rather than staring at a screen (which, ironically, is exactly what you are doing right now and also what I just instructed you to do). 

Regardless, kids should be outside playing, not inside playing, as long as they are reasonably safe about it.  But during their development most kids eventually go from "I'm not sure I can do this" to "I AM INDESTRUCTIBLE!  I CAN DO ANYTHING!  WHEEEEEEEEEE!"  It's the childhood equivalent of "Hey I saw some guy do this in a movie once.  Here, hold my beer".  At this crucial point in their development children lose the ability to judge their own 1) abilities, 2) carelessness, and 3) bravado.

And Travis (not his real name™) is a perfect example of all three.

The first thing that told me that Travis was a completely normal teenager was that he was actively texting as he rolled through the door of my trauma bay.  That prompted my first eye roll of the encounter.

"Hi everyone, this is Travis."  He barely had the decency to look up at the sound of his name as the medics gave their report, but he at least grunted, eyes (and thumbs) still glued to his mobile phone.  That prompted eye roll #2.  "Travis was riding his dirt bike, no helmet, and he lost control, and he fell onto his left side.  He was going about 60 kph (35 mph) when he crashed."

The second thing that told me that he was a normal teenager (and that caused eye roll #3) was his response to that bit of information:


I think all the people in the trauma bay, myself included, groaned audibly in addition to rolling our eyes.  Clearly, everything this guy was going to say was bullshit.

Travis then flashed the universal sign for "METAL", grinned, stuck out his tongue, and went right back to texting.  Once again, he wasn't even able to muster up the decency to look at us or speak to us.

I can imagine his text was something lucid, intelligent, and well-thought-out, like this:

Travis seemed completely uninterested and unimpressed by the fact that his left leg had an extra bend in the thigh where it did not belong.  He continued grinning intermittently and making strange grunting noises under his breath as we finished our workup (still texting furiously), which demonstrated only an isolated left femur fracture.  The only thing I could think as I looked at his X-ray was, "I guess the fucking thing is broken."

Fortunately Travis' stay was short and uneventful, so I was not treated to very much of his teenage antics.  I heard about him flirting with several of the nurses, but they were just as unimpressed as I was.  And while he was with us his mother told me of several other not-quite-as-severe crashes he had recently had on his motorbike. 

Once it was time for Travis to leave, I knew I had one more job to do: make sure this didn't happen again.  I had already told him in the trauma bay and the following day that he was lucky he hadn't sustained a serious head injury yet, and he had to wear a helmet whenever riding a dirt bike.  But I decided to drill it into his fortunately thick skull one more time.  With his mother in the room, I told them both that if Travis was going to continue riding his death machine, he at least had to protect his head.  Travis looked at me as if hearing this strange information for the first time, his expression clearly saying this:

Yes. I was serious about that.

Friday, 10 March 2017


This isn't a personal success story (though I have had several recently), nor is it a professional success story (though I have had several of them too recently).  No, this is a Twitter success story.

A what??

As many of you know, I hate Twitter despite my activity there.  Trying to communicate in 140 characters or less is downright madness, and whoever thought of it should be dragged through a muddy street strewn with horse manure by his toenails, then flayed, tattooed, hanged, and then killed.  To those of you who don't know about my exploits on Twitter, why the hell not?  Go to Twitter and follow me, god damn it.  There's even a little button on the side right over there that makes it easy.  Seriously, go do it now.

Anyway, my Twitter account has metamorphosed of late to become a "Calling Out Bullshit" account.  The bullshit can be anything that I'm not particularly fond of at that moment - homeopathy bullshit, antivax bullshit, naturopathic bullshit, chiropractic bullshit, nutrition bullshit, "cancer is a fungus" bullshit, etc.  You get the idea.

But many people have asked me (in 140 characters or less, of course) why I bother.  Why do I spend (read: waste) my precious time calling out these frauds on their bullshit?  What possible benefit could it have?
Well, I'm about to tell you why.

My focus lately has been chiropractors.  I am stunned that chiropractic has managed to survive for as long as it has, considering A) its extremely poor evidence base (it has only been shown to be mildly effective for low back pain), and B) its vitalistic origins.  If you don't know, DD Palmer, the founder of chiropractor, first invented it in the late 19th century purely out of his ass after he supposedly "cured" a janitor of deafness by manipulating his neck.  A stupid light bulb apparently clicked on over his head, because he then hypothesised that "subluxations" (mystical misalignments of the spine) are responsible for blocking the flow of vital energy (whatever the hell that is) and thus are the cause of disease.  To modern chiropractors, it apparently makes no difference that a chiropractic subluxation is not visible on any X-ray, CT scan, or MRI, and indeed has never been shown to exist, nor has vital energy.  It also apparently makes no difference that chiropractic manipulation has never been shown to cure, improve, or otherwise treat anything whatsoever.

That does not stop them, however, from advertising their bogus "adjustments" for everything from pain to asthma to GERD to headaches to paediatrics.

Yes, chiropractors claim they can help children.

I came across Kristen Simpson from Leavenworth, Kansas, USA, who is a chiropractor in the Life Family Chiropractic practice.  She posted this bit of bullshit on Twitter:
Now let's break this down, shall we?  Starting with the array of hashtags: what the hell is a "crunchy kid"?  What is a "well adjusted" baby?  Moving on to the little girl's top - yes, children need to eat.  Children need sleep (a lot of it!).  But "get adjusted"?  For what exactly?  What the hell was this chiropractor claiming her adjustments could do for this child?  Babies need chiropractors in exactly the same way that Olympic athletes need cupping.

Trying to get some answers, I tweeted this at her:
I wasn't expecting a reply, since these charlatans people rarely do.  Would you want to be exposed as a fraud on international social media?  I would be mortified, embarrassed, and ashamed.  So instead of responding to the charges, instead of facing her accuser, she did what any reasonable fraud would do in that situation:

She blocked me.

I can't say I was remotely surprised, and I was actually somewhat pleased.  I saw it as a major win, because it can only mean two things:
  1. She read my tweet.
  2. She had no response.
Since I was blocked, I couldn't continue the conversation with her and ask any follow up questions (SAD).  My followers, on the other hand, were not blocked (at least not initially), and they were not exactly kind, and for good reason:

Why am I telling you this?  What the hell is the significance?  Well if you search for Ms. Simpson on Twitter now, you get this:
That's right, she deleted her account.  Rather than face the music, support her stupid claim, or provide evidence, she bravely turned her tail and fled and is now unable to propagate her ridiculous bullshit on Twitter.


And with that, all I have to say is this:

Monday, 6 March 2017

Stupidly obviously stupid

Life on planet Earth is generally complicated.  There are way too many questions and very few definitive answers.  Why are we here?  What is our purpose?  Is there life on other planets?  If not, why not?  How can there possibly be a septillion (that's 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) stars (approximately) in the known universe with Sol being the only one to have evolved life?  But if there is other life out there, how is it possible that just one of them hasn't evolved to the point of interstellar travel and visited us?  Well, here is one possible explanation:

I didn't intend on going in this direction when I sat down to write this.  I should probably stop writing these when I'm post-call, sleep deprived, and caffeine deprived as well.  My brain starts doing strange things.  Let me try to get back on track.  Hm.

Anyway, with all the unknowns surrounding us, there are fortunately a few knowns, a few certainties, a few obviousnesses.  (Yes, I know that isn't a word.  It is now.  So there.)  For example: everyone reading this (and for that matter, everyone not reading this) will die.  Sorry if I just spoiled your day, but it's a natural part of every life (unless you are bitten by a zombie, then all bets are off).

There are a few more plainly obvious things that come to mind:
  • vaccines work (yeah, you knew I'd squeeze that in somehow)
  • homeopathy doesn't work (that too)
  • stupid people do stupid things
  • there are a lot more stupid people than smart people
Those last two might not have been too obvious to me as I grew up, but after doing what I do for as long as I have done it, they certainly are now.  One of the basic tenets of life, something that I consider to be obvious, clearly is not to far too many people: Don't be stupid.  I don't mean "Don't be unintelligent", because not everyone is born with a high IQ and can understand quantum physics and do calculus.  No, by "Don't be stupid" I mean "Don't do stupid things".  Even smart people do stupid things sometimes (myself included), but there are some things that you just don't do no matter how stupid you are.  Anyone with an intelligence above the level of "cabbage" or "chihuahua" or "antivaxxer" should know not to do things that put himself, his children, and everyone around him in immediate and extreme danger.

Howard (not his real name™) apparently didn't get that message.

It was a Saturday night much like any other, which is to say that it was full of stupid people doing stupid things.  Stupid people getting stupidly drunk at the pub and falling in the parking lot.  Stupid medics not realising that the 90-year-old woman they brought to me as a trauma who had crumpled to the ground 4 days ago was severely dehydrated and septic and not a trauma patient.  Stupid people who still haven't figured out how to call a cab instead of driving home drunk.  Howard fell into that last category of course, though I had a total of four similar patients that night, all after midnight.  Of course.

At first he seemed like any other drunk driver - just merely a guy who had drunk too much and run his car into a tree.  I'm always just a tad gratified when a drunk driver is in a single-vehicle accident, because at least he hadn't injured any innocent bystanders, bywalkers, bybicyclists, or bydrivers.  Yes, I just created "bywalkers", "bybicyclists", and "bydrivers" too.  This is a good day.

Moving on.

Howard admitted to having "Two drinks" at first, which changed to "A few drinks" several minutes afterwards, to "A lot" a bit later.  He was complaining of pain in his left thigh, which made me worried that he had fractured his femur.  But as we continued asking questions, the real Howard made himself known awfully quickly.  He started acting obnoxious and entitled, but when the police showed up, he stopped cooperating entirely.

Our workup was fortunately fairly benign - no femur fracture, just a few bumps and bruises and a minor pelvic fracture that would require nothing but pain medicine and time.  But just as quickly as my worry turned to relief, my relief turned to outrage when the police gave me the real story.

Howard had gone to a friend's house for a night of drunken carousing and debauchery (I assume), but he hadn't bothered to find a babysitter for his twin boys, so he had brought them along.  The boys, if you are curious, were all of 18 months old.  I don't know what possessed him to drive home drunk with his twin toddlers in the back of his car instead of calling a taxi.  And I definitely don't know what made him think that going close to 200 kph (around 120 mph) while drunk was a good idea.  WITH HIS TWIN TODDLERS IN THE BACK SEAT.

I was informed that the boys had been taken to the local children's hospital, but that by some stroke of good luck, both were ok.  I couldn't help but think that if Howard had been a victim of drunk driving (rather than a perpetrator), his boys probably wouldn't not have been so lucky.  Bad guys always seem to get away with it, for some stupid reason.  And if you're wondering where the boys' mother was, I didn't get that far in my questioning.  I had to go find a safe space to scream my fool head off.

If it hasn't become clear to you yet, this episode made me angry.  As a trauma surgeon, it made me livid.  But as a father, it made me so furious that it made me want to grab him by his ears, slap him repeatedly in the face, and scream in his face "WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!??  Those aren't just helpless, defenseless children that you could have killed, those are YOUR helpless, defenseless children that you could have killed!!  It was luck, and ONLY luck that kept you and your entire family from dying tonight!  And not only that, but you put MY helpless, defenseless children at risk with your idiocy!  Moron!  Idiot!  Asshole!"

Excuse me, I need to go find that safe space again.  I'll be right back.

Monday, 27 February 2017


There is a very slight chance that my decision to write this post as well as its content were strongly influenced by the fact that I finally sat down to watch "Dr. Strange" a few days ago.  A friend of mine told me it was his favourite Marvel movie and that I had to see it, but it somehow slipped by me.  Now having seen it, I agree it was pretty damned good (but then again, I'd probably see anything that Benedict Cumberbatch does).  But as with every superhero movie I've ever seen, it made me think about superheroes and their superpowers: how they get them, how they use them, why Batman is considered a superhero even though he doesn't have any superpowers and is just a rich guy with a bunch of fancy expensive gadgets, etc.

That being said, I'm fairly certain that Uri (not his real name™) is not a superhero, but I can't say I'm 100% convinced.

Uri was admittedly a bit of an anomaly in my trauma bay, in that he was shot in the late evening rather than in the middle of the night.  I don't think his attackers were thinking of me personally when they shot him in the chest, head, and neck so early (relatively) in the day, but I appreciated it nonetheless.  No one likes to be in the operating theatre at 2 AM.  NO ONE.

When the call first came in from the first responders, it sounded pretty grim (from what we could hear).  Multiple gunshot wounds to the head, multiple gunshot wounds to the torso.  That's the sort of call that prompts the nurses to put the body bag under the sheets on the gurney before the patient even arrives.  When he got to me 15 minutes later just before 9 PM, I was expecting to see them doing chest compressions.  Instead, what greeted me was a pretty awake young Uri.

"Hey Doc, this is Uri.  Multiple gunshot wounds, two to the back of the head, two to the chest.  He was pretty altered when we first got there, but he's started to come around.  His vitals have been ok though his pulse has been in the 140s the whole time."

Wait wait wait, how in the hell does someone who has been shot in the head start to come around?  This didn't make sense.  At all.  I started to try to convince myself that this would end up being nothing and I started thinking of going to bed soon, but my Inner Pessimist wouldn't let me.  "At least disrobe the patient and look at the holes first, dummy!" it wisely told me.

It took all of 2 seconds for me to realise how wrong I was.  I hate when my Inner Pessimist is right.  He had a gunshot wound to the right upper chest, one to the left lower chest, two on the back of his head, two on the left side of his neck, an exit wound on his right upper back, and another on his right lower back.

Those of you who know your anatomy can see already how bad this looked.  Those of you who don't know anatomy, well you probably got it quickly too.  An entrance on one side of the chest and an exit on the other is a Very Bad Thing.

I palpated the back of his scalp where the wounds were, and I could feel broken bits of bone underneath.  But Uri was looking at me and talking, so I figured the bullet probably went in, bounced off the skull, and came right back out.  "Don't be so sure!" my Inner Pessimist told me.  Sigh.  I next moved down to his chest.  He had decreased breath sounds on the left (that's bad), and no breath sounds on the right (that's worse), but his heart was beating.  Fast, but beating.  I then pushed on his abdomen and he groaned and tried to grab my hands.

Damn.  One thing I hadn't seen Uri do yet is move his legs.  I asked him to move them, and they didn't budge.  Maybe he didn't hear me through all the hustle and bustle going on around him.  I asked him again (louder) to move his legs.  "I'm trying, Doc.  I can't."


I now had potential injuries to the head, chest, abdomen, and spine, all at the same time.  I had no need for a chest X-ray to make the diagnosis of either pneumothorax or hemothorax (it didn't matter which) on both sides, because he needed bilateral chest tubes regardless.  But I needed a quick look into the abdomen to make sure he needed immediate surgery, because I wasn't sure the bullet had gone from the chest into the abdomen ("IT DID!  HE DOES!" yelled Inner Pessimist).  I did a quick ultrasound which showed obviously fluid around his spleen, liver, and bladder.  Blood.

Well, damn it.

We quickly put in the chest tubes and then wheeled him down to the operating theatre (2 AM is no fun, but 9 PM is reasonably ok).  In his abdomen I found holes in his left diaphragm, liver, and stomach, all of which I repaired.  After surgery we left him on the ventilator, but he still woke up and was opening his eyes and trying to talk.  Whew, at least his brain isn't injured I thought to myself.

We went straight from the operating theatre to the CT scanner to get a better look at where the bullets went.  Starting with the brain, Uri surprised the hell out of me.

Not Uri
The bullet had in fact bounced off the skull, but it had caused a significant amount of bleeding in his occipital lobe and left 3rd ventricle.  I was shocked that Uri was still awake, let alone trying to talk.  (Note this is not Uri's brain - his also had a skull fracture.)

Moving down to the chest, the bullet on the left side had indeed gone through the chest, into the abdomen, and through the spine at T11.  As I suspected, Uri was paralysed.  God damn it.  The bullet in the right chest had gone straight through his right lung, fracturing a couple of ribs on the way in and out.  No huge deal there, the chest tube should suffice.  But then I looked at the abdomen . . .
Not Uri

I almost couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that the bullet had also lacerated his aorta.  If you look at the white structure circled in red (that's the aorta), it looks like it's split in two.  Because it is.  (Note this is not Uri's abdomen - his looked much worse.)  You can probably imagine that having a laceration in the largest blood vessel in the body should result in death, and in the vast majority of cases it does.

Uri, however, had survived not one, not two, not three, not four, but five different injuries (brain, liver, lung, stomach, aorta) that could (and possibly should) have killed him.

But none of them did.

Is Uri a superhero?  That depends - is living a super power?  Well, maybe "living" isn't the right term.  Is surviving multiple horrific injuries that should have been fatal considered a super power?  And if so, what would his superhero name be?  We can't use The Boy Who Lived, because some silly wizard already took that one (yes, I'm a huge Harry Potter nerd.  Sue me).  How about The Living Kid?  No?  Survival Man?  Still no?  Oh oh oh I got it, how about Duraboy!  No no, I got it - Existo!

Hey, it's a better super power than "I have a cave and a car and a grappling hook on my belt."

Monday, 20 February 2017

Unvaluable lesson

I try my best to find valuable lessons in dealing with trauma patients.  As I've told my children repeatedly, any day you learn something is not a wasted day.  Many of these life lessons are easy - use your seat belt, slow down, don't drink and drive, don't attack the police, don't be stupid - but some of them can be slightly more obscure and difficult to discern, and it takes me a while to figure out what I've been able to take away.

As you have probably guessed, this story definitely falls into that latter category.

I know I write a lot about gun violence, and it must seem to you that anyone around me can walk into a corner store, buy a gun of his or her choosing, and immediately start firing at everyone and everything for any goddamned reason.  The truth is that it isn't nearly as common as I make it sound (fortunately).  If it were, it would be like the OK Corral with bullets whizzing around my head constantly (I assume - I wasn't actually there despite how old my children think I am).  Luckily reality isn't quite like that and guns aren't that easy to obtain.  I just write about those stories more than the 84-year-old who fell off her toilet and bonked her head on the bathtub, because who the hell wants to read about that crap.  I just re-read that last sentence and almost deleted it because it's so stupidly boring.

Oh, and before I go on and before anyone starts a pedantic comment regarding the title, I fully realise that "unvaluable" is not a real word.  Unfortunately due to a remarkably stupid quirk in the English language, "invaluable" is actually a synonym of "valuable", much like "inflammable" means "flammable".  There just is no good antonym.  So I made one up.  Sue me. 

Now where was I?  Ah right, guns and valuable lessons.  That is where our story starts.

Nancy (not her real name™) was brought to me as a Level 1 (high level) trauma, and unlike many of my Level Ones who are unresponsive because they are drunk, she was a real Level 1.  

"Hey Doc, this is Nancy.  She's 25, multiple gunshot wounds.  We saw one on the right chest, two in the right arm, two in the left wrist, and two in the neck.  She's been stable, complaining of right chest pain and shortness of breath."


With all those holes you might expect Nancy to be near death (I certainly did), but she wasn't.  Not even close.  Sure, she was uncomfortable and unhappy, but her vital signs were fine.  My evaluation (read: where I found holes) was consistent with what the medics had told us:

  • Right chest
  • Right upper back
  • Right upper arm (2)
  • Left wrist (2)
  • Back of neck (2)
A quick examination of the neck (since that seemed the most immediately life-threatening injury) revealed it was a simple graze wound somehow.  Lucky girl.  An X-ray of all the other various Parts With Holes showed no fractures in the wrist or the arm (LUCKY GIRL), but she did have a few broken ribs and a haemothorax (blood in the right chest).  A simple chest tube and some pain medicine should suffice, and she would most certainly live to tell her tale. 

Which left only her tale.  What made someone shoot this young lady four times?  What had she done to deserve this?  

Nothing, it turns out.  It was her boyfriend Will (not his real name™) who has caused this. 

The police told me later that Will had wanted a gun, but instead of figuring out which hoops to jump through to buy one legally, he decided to buy one from Some Guy With Guns In His Car.  I don't think Some Guy With Guns has a permit, but that didn't stop Will.  Oh no, not at all.  

But Will had another problem.  In addition to a severe shortage of guns in his possession, he also had no money.  Most idiots who want to buy a gun illegally but have at least half a functional brain would probably find some just-as-illegal way to find some money, and that's exactly what Will did.  Sort of.  Will did acquire some money illegally, but that illegal money he illegally obtained in order to acquire his illegal gun illegally was counterfeit.

You probably see where this story is going. 

Will drove with Nancy to buy his gun and gave his funny money to Some Guy With Guns In His Car.  Unfortunately (and despite his choice of occupations) Some Guy was somehow bright enough to recognise the fake bills.  Even more unfortunately Will hadn't foreseen the very slight problem with trying to trick a guy with guns: THE OTHER GUY HAS GUNS.  So Some Guy did the only logical thing for a guy in his position: he used the gun on Will, who did not survive long enough to earn a trip to my trauma bay.  He then used it on Nancy, who did. 

After this episode I went back over it with a fine-toothed comb to find the learning point.  What could I take away from this?  How could I enrich my life and the lives of those around me?  It took quite a while of searching, but the only thing I could glean, the only lesson I found, was "Don't buy an illegal gun with fake money".  A valuable life lesson?  Hardly.  


I somehow wonder why Aesop never wrote a fable about that little moral. 

P.S. For any of you playing on the last post, the correct answer (not counting duplicates) was 20.

Monday, 13 February 2017


In trauma I see all kinds of patient imaginable - male, female, old, young, educated, uneducated, nice, and asshole.  There are other types too, but I'll leave the rest to your imagination.  Of all those types, the nice ones are the easiest to take care of, but they make for very boring stories.  That's why you rarely hear about them here - they just aren't very interesting.

The assholes, on the other hand, make my time in the trauma bay much more entertaining.  I can't say I prefer them per se, but this blog would frankly be impossible without them.

And thus enters Jack (not his real name™).

When Jack was first wheeled into my trauma bay, he immediately rubbed me the wrong way.  It wasn't so much that he was acting obnoxiously, because he wasn't (at least not at first).  Actually when he first got there, he was happy and giddy.  I could almost describe him as spunky.  He was smiling sharply, almost demoniacally so.  He seemed to be muttering rhythmically under his breath.  It took me a few seconds to realise he was singing.

"Hey everybody, this here is Jack," the medic started as he helped Jack off the gurney.  "He crashed his car into a tree for some reason, don't know why.  He refused to get out when the police got there, so they kinda roughed him up a bit.  I think they whacked him on the left leg a few times, but I didn't take his pants off to look at their handiwork." 

"They choked me too," Jack tossed off as the police officer shook his head No, we didn't.

He had definitely been beaten about his head, but he had no other obvious injuries.

Unbeknownst to me, Jack was well known by the emergency staff as a bit of a wanker, a jerk.  Ok, that's putting it mildly - he was an asshole.  He was also a frequent flyer - he seemed to come to our hospital on a regular basis whenever he took PCP, which was often.  I examined him from head to toe, and other than having been spanked around a bit, by some stroke of luck Jack didn't look too worse for the wear.  He tugged on my lab coat as I tried to walk away.

"Doc, they beat me.  They beat me good."

I had to hand it to him, he was definitely persistent.  But something about Jack's behaviour was rubbing me the wrong way.  I just couldn't quite put my finger on it.

About a half hour later Jack's X-rays were all done, and they were (shockingly) all normal.  I walked back in to give Jack the good news, but what greeted me was not was I expected.

Jack's hand was at his groin under the sheet, moving rather quickly.  Wait, is he . . . It took me about 0.298 seconds (I didn't count) to realise what he was doing.  Oh fucking hell, he is!  There was no mistaking it and I wasn't imagining it - this was actually happening.  Now at this point I had three options:

  1. Turn right back around, walk out, and pretend I didn't see anything.
  2. Stand and stare, completely bewildered.
  3. Ask him politely to stop.
I chose #3.

"Jack," I said, not believing the words coming out of my mouth.  "Please stop masturbating."

No one had been looking at Jack before, but as soon as I said it, every set of eyes in the room turned immediately to Jack.  "Jeez. . ." I heard several people mutter under their breath.  For me it was hard just standing there as Jack sat smiling for just a moment, obviously pondering his options.  And a second later it became obvious that the option that he went with was keep going.

Um . . . now what?  What the hell do I do now?  I was unprepared for the situation to begin with, and completely unprepared for this eventuality.  He was supposed to have stopped!  Unlike most situations, I had no prepared statements, no social norms I could fall back on, no fucking clue what to do.

So I shook my head and walked out.  I had no other ideas.

Apparently he finished a few minutes later, because when I went back, he was getting dressed and preparing to leave with the police (he was under arrest for the car accident, not for, you know, that other thing).  He had no shame on his face, no sheepish smile, seemingly no sense of remorse.  He almost looked proud of himself.  My staff, on the other hand, looked downright thrilled that he was leaving.  Obviously.

I've said it many times here before, but just when I think I've seen it all, just when I think the Call Gods can't possibly think of anything new to throw at me, they come up with something.  However, the day that the Call Gods call it quits is the day that I retire SftTB, because my source material will have officially dried up.

Note: A special prize will not be awarded to whoever finds the most.  If you don't know what I mean by "the most", then you are guaranteed not to win.  And by "special prize" I mean my undying esteem and respect.  Not really.