Wednesday 10 July 2013
The great thing about being a trauma surgeon is knowing that all of my patients are potentially critically injured and that I have the opportunity to save them. You can't beat that thrill, you can't deny that rush of adrenaline, you can't help the excitement of the unknown, the anticipation of...
...the plop of the bullshit that some idiot medics drop on my doorstep.
So when is a trauma not a trauma? When it isn't a trauma. That seems obvious enough, right? While I can't expect medics to diagnose injuries in the field, I would think that it's easy enough to at least tell if someone has suffered a traumatic mechanism of injury.
Based on the crap they have been bringing me lately, however, I have to assume it's significantly harder than it looks.
A middle-aged woman was brought to me, purportedly because she fell. When she arrived without a scratch or any complaint of pain, my suspicions started to rise. The medics said they were worried she had fallen.
Wait, worried she had fallen? Had she fallen or not? I asked the patient, and she said she had been feeling dizzy and weak, so she went to sleep under a tree. When she woke up she couldn't remember going to sleep, so she called emergency services. And because she couldn't rememer, the medics thought she might possibly have perhaps fallen. Maybe. It turns out I had suffered more trauma than she had when I shaved that morning. I guess these medics took the "fall" in "fall asleep" literally.
If that wasn't bad enough, a different crew brought me my worst non-trauma of all time a bit later. A woman who had undergone a hip replacement operation a week prior was lying in bed at home doing therapy with her physical therapist when she heard a "pop" and felt a pain in her hip. The therapist called emergency services, and instead of bringing her to the hospital where her orthopaedic surgeon works, they brought her to me. As a trauma. What kind of trauma, you might ask?
I have no goddamned idea. If you're wondering, her X-rays were normal. Please, try to control your surprise.
Did you just hear that plop? Yeah, me too.
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