Tuesday 16 April 2013

Almost a patient

So far I've written about stupid doctors, stupid lawyers (oh, I thoroughly enjoyed that), stupid questions, and of course stupid patients.  But I haven't written about someone stupid who wasn't my patient.


Some people I can just tell will end up either in my trauma bay or on a cold steel slab soon, some sooner than others.  For example, when motorcyclists pass me on the highway like I'm standing still, I usually yell after them "See you soon, idiot."  Not that they can hear me, of course.  But screaming at them somehow makes me feel better.

I got a call from the ER at midnight about a patient who was actively dying and needed immediate surgery (I'll leave out the details because they aren't relevant).  I apologised to my wife for waking her (as per Bastard household protocol), jumped in my car, and raced towards the hospital.  Fortunately in the middle of the night there's usually no pedestrian traffic to worry about.


Got that sense of foreboding yet?

Halfway to the hospital I nearly ran over a woman who I can only describe as leisurely strolling across 3 lanes of traffic.  Bad enough?  Of course not, but I'm sure you knew it got worse.  She was also wearing all black in the middle of the night.  What, still not stupid enough?  Ok then, she was also looking down at her cell phone, not paying any attention at all to the world around her.

I have no idea (nor do I give a flying fuck) if she was updating her Facebook status, tweeting about what she was doing in the middle of the road at midnight, or flinging pissed-off birds at pigs.  Regardless, she didn't even bother to trouble herself to look up as I slammed on my brakes and swerved, barely missing her.  She did, however, pause long enough to yell "ASSHOLE!" and give me a nasty gesture.

I shrugged off this idiotic encounter and got to the hospital in time to take my patient to surgery, which she survived.  It was speed, not dumb luck, that allowed my patient to survive that night and make it out of the hospital in one piece.  It was the exact opposite that kept this imbecile OUT of the hospital and out of the morgue.

I imagine her latest tweet was "OMG just almost got run over lolol #yolo"


  1. It's great that people acknowledge some universal facts (people tend to only live once), but maybe it's time to develop some kind of basic awareness, while you're living your only life.

  2. Thank you! I almost ran over a cyclest Saturday night who was dressed in all black and had no lights or reflectors on his bike. I didn't see him until I was six inches away. Really, you have to wonder if they are suicidal.

  3. It'd be hilarious if you have her as a patient and she recognizes you.

    (Please correct my grammar if you can, that just doesn't sound right to me)

  4. Doc, could you give us your take on what it would be like as a trauma surgeon in a major event like today's happening at the Boston Marathon? I just watched an interview of a trauma surgeon at Boston Mass and my first thought was of you. Not trying to be all about America, I know horrible things like this happen almost every day all over the globe but I know many of your readers are from the US and I would love to hear a reaction from the only trauma surgeon I (feel like I) know.

    1. I tried my best to sum it up here - http://docbastard.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/boston.html

    2. now we know you are in England :) based off of your .co.uk address.

    3. Not necessarily Madeline. I *am* english, and I can easily join a site with a .au .com .edu .org .cz .hk or any other one of dozens of suffixes you may care to choose. DocB may have chosen .co.uk deliberately to throw us off.

  5. This has happened to me, but I actually hit the guy. Don't put it past people to act in the most idiotic way possible, and risk both you and their lives without a second thought.

  6. Some lady did the same to me a while back. She said "bitch I know you seen me" (wtf ok?!) I was PISSED because I had two kids in my Durango and they were startled by me slamming on the breaks and hopping a curb then my little sister was scared the woman was trying to hurt us. Call me juvenile but I happened to see her later in the day in the same area. I pulled up and said "I'm the bitch who seened you earlier"

    She said... Get ready for it...

    "Which one?"

  7. I just got back from holiday and India and you would probably cry if you saw how completely chaotic the roads are like over there... people driving the wrong way and pedestrians leisurely walking in the middle of the motorway. its not a surprise that so many people die on the roads there...

    1. That's so true. My dad went to India for 3 weeks for work. He said the first few days, they were terrified riding a car due to very very bad traffic, my dad's colleague was even almost traumatised. But then they got used to it.

  8. For unobservable I can top this--my close call was with a very black dude. He's alive only because he was looking (which should have been enough to tell him it wasn't clear) and his close call with the vehicle in the next lane revealed him to me. I knew he was out there in front of me dangerously close and yet I couldn't see him. I stood on the brakes and hoped it would buy enough time to evade when I did find him. It turns out it gave him just enough time to get across my lane.

    Had he not been momentarily lit by the headlights of the next vehicle I wouldn't have known he was there and kept on going the speed limit. I would have seen him maybe a second from impact and you might have gotten a customer.

    (Admittedly, though, the very same vehicle that revealed him to me also probably kept him from seeing me.)

    As for the comments about India--I certainly agree about the traffic although I don't recall the pedestrian problems. That was LONG ago, though.


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