Friday 30 August 2013


1. a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

There are many different types of friends: the people you know and trust the most, the people you enjoy hanging out with, the people at work that you actually like with whom you talk about the people at work you don't like.  Perhaps you're friends because they are funny, maybe you share a common interest, or maybe it's just because you've been friends for so long and nothing else really matters.   Whatever the reason, there's a common thread running through all these different groups - they are all people you like.

All of which makes me wonder how this next guy chose his particular group of friends.

A man in his late 20's was brought to me completely unconscious.  He had suffered obvious head trauma - one side of his face had its skin scraped off, he had blood coming from his nose and ears, and he was completely unresponsive, but everything below his neck looked fine.  The report the medics gave us was more cryptic than their usual bullshit - he had supposedly been riding a motorcycle and crashed, but when the medics arrived, there was no motorcycle there, no broken helmet, nothing.  Just him, lying half-dead by the side of the road in front of a house.

Whenever I get a story like this that just doesn't make sense, it immediately raises red flags and I start to think about what else could have happened.  Had he been assaulted?  Had he fallen or been pushed out of a car?  Had he been abducted by aliens and unceremoniously deposited next to the roadway after they finished their anal probing?

His mother arrived later to tell us the whole story.   The answer was much more mundane and less interesting, though much more infuriating, than an alien anal probe.  He had been riding his motorcycle with a group of friends, and he had lost control and crashed.  Unfortunately for him he was not wearing a helmet whilst speeding along at three times the speed limit.

"So where was his motorcycle?" I hear you asking.  And more importantly, where the hell were his friends?  Well after watching him crash and nearly kill himself, they decided to take his motorcycle and leave him there, bleeding, to fend off death by himself.  They didn't even call emergency services before they fled.  The owner of the home in front of which he crashed happened to see him lying next to the road an hour or two later, and he called the ambulance.

The young man spent 3 weeks in hospital before I sent him to a nursing home.  He can barely speak, he can't eat, and he can't move the right side of his body.  I don't know if he will ever be able to walk again.

After this little episode, I propose my own definition of "friend" for DocBastard's Realistic English Dictionary:

1. A person you know and like well enough not to leave dying on the side of the road.


  1. What about the friends who push you aside after someone beats the shit out of you so they can continue their basketball game?

  2. They have been officially nominated for the prestigious ultimate bastards award. And I thought it 's hard to trust my fellow students who,while ass kissing our superior, will have no shame and shit speak about you to at least feel good about their ever expanding ego.

  3. It's really a shame how people have no respect for others lives. My husband is currently working on his bike. Its a 70s Kawasaki that was his and fathers project bike. But he's already been warned that he not only has to wear a helmet but body armor as well.

    His friends are in a motorcycle club, but never in a million years would they let him ride without proper safety gear much less leave him stranded to die. People disgust me.

  4. A friend in this context is clearly one whose concern for their own culpability will not overwhelm their concern for their "friend"'s life. It doesn't seem like setting the bar especially high to me.

    1. Doc - It makes no difference in terms of whether his "friends" are completely selfish shits or not but I would be interested to know whether the guy's condition might have been any different if it had been called in a couple of hours earlier.

  5. Doc, that sounds like a kid we had in my ER two weeks ago. 23M comes in first thing around 7:00. Wicked hand lacerations that he has no clue how he got. Says he "just woke up and they were there." Police later come by and fill in the rest of the story. This young man gets into an altercation at a bar in the early hours. He ends up punching out one of the front windows of the bar. He proceeds to walk home drunk to his apartment, leaving a long trail of blood a few blocks. His neighbors see the trail of blood around 600AM, get concerned, and call EMS. EMS shows up and the patient's ROOMATE lets EMS in to collect the unconscious young man who passed out in the living room bleeding out. That's an awesome friend/roomate right there.


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