Wednesday 4 June 2014


There aren't many things that make me angry.

HAHAHAHAHAHA ok sorry, that's a total lie.  There are SHITLOADS of things that piss me off enough to make me want to punch a mime, and anyone who's read this blog knows that.  But there are only a few things that truly make me irate enough to raise my blood pressure.  Unfortunately several of those things seemed to stack up at the same time a few nights ago.

A 17-year old girl was allegedly assaulted and brought to me emergently for evaluation.  She had a bit of a bloody nose, but no real complaints.  She was crying profusely and wouldn't talk, which tipped me off that there was something strange going on.  After we managed to calm her slightly, the truth came out - her cousin, with whom she lives, had a friend over.  In the middle of the night, that friend crept into the girl's room, hit her in the face, and raped her.  The girl was smart and fought back, and when her attacker tried to put his penis in her mouth, she bit down.  HARD.  As he bled and presumably screamed his head off (pun intended), she ran away and called emergency services.

She was physically uninjured though obviously emotionally traumatised, and I called the sexual assault team to assist.  As I was finishing her paperwork and wondering how some people can be so evil, I was thinking to myself that, speaking of evil people, I hadn't gotten a multiple gunshot wound victim in a while.  The thought was interrupted by the overhead speaker announcing that we would be getting a high-level trauma in 5 minutes.  In true Call God fashion, my pager confirmed the trauma was a gunshot victim.  The assistants bustled around getting everything ready, and a nurse ran in to tell me that the patient had lost his pulse in the ambulance and CPR was in progress.

Oh, just fucking great.

I had just finished putting the impermeable paper boots over my shoes and the nurses were just finishing putting the body bag on the gurney (yes, really) when the medics burst through the door with an obviously dead young man who looked young enough to be my son.  Like most dead people, his pupils were fixed and dilated, his skin was grey, and his hands were cuffed behind his back.  I immediately started my initial survey and . . .

Wait, wait, wait . . . handcuffs?  What the hell?

It was then that I learned exactly how difficult it is to do an initial evaluation when the patient's hands are cuffed in front of him.  After I asked him nicely ("WILL YOU GET THESE GODDAMNED THINGS OFF HIM!"), the officer removed the handcuffs.  I saw two holes in his right arm, one large hole in his left chest, and another large hole in his right groin.  The big problem was that none of the holes was bleeding, most notably the one in his groin.

Wait Doc, why is that a problem?  It's good when people don't bleed, right?

In this case, not so much.  The wound was directly over his femoral artery, which just happens to be the largest artery in the body (next to the aorta), and with such a large hole in it, it should have been bleeding enough for me to hear it.  No bleeding from the femoral artery means one thing and one thing only - there was no blood left to bleed.  As we continued our resuscitation efforts I got the story from the police: he had apparently been in an altercation with the police, and when he pointed his gun at them and opened fire, they shot back.  He managed to bleed nearly to death as the police handcuffed him, and he had finished bleeding to death in the ambulance.  Exhaustive measures were, as usual, insufficient to bring the dead back to life.

A few hours later in the wee hours of the morning as I lay wide awake, I had more than enough time to think about the events that had transpired that night and why they had pissed me off so thoroughly.  What angered me the most about what happened to the young girl was, well, everything.  I was (and continue to be) incensed that some men seem to think they are within their rights to take what they want.  If something like this ever happened to my daughter, I am completely unconvinced that I would be able to restrain myself from surgically removing his requisite male anatomy with an old rusty shovel (anaesthesia not required).

As if that weren't enough to exasperate me, I was confronted with the second situation immediately afterwards.  The police took the time to handcuff the man who was bleeding to death, but they didn't take the time to hold direct pressure on his leg, which would have easily saved his life.  I realise that this was a bad guy who shot at the police, but even he deserved a chance to stand trial.

Sometimes things go right, sometimes they go wrong.  When everything seems to go wrong at the same time, it all adds up to a very bad day.  For me, and for them.


  1. I can't read the rest of this post without commenting this: Describing a victim of sexual assault as smart for fighting back can be a negative for other victims that did not/do not fight back due to fear or incapacitation. It could imply those victims are not smart and perpetuate the victim blaming that surrounds sexual assault victims.

    Disclaimer: I am a Nationally Certified Victim Advocate for the Department of Defense in the United States Air Force.

    I'm not trying to be politically correct; but it's the seemingly insignificant words that can have huge impacts on victims.

    Thanks Doc!

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. Of course I wasn't implying anything of the sort, but then you knew that.

    2. I absolutely did know that....but we've all become very desensitized to the power of our words in certain contexts. ;)

  2. As a rape victim that was incapacitated due to, well, Hell, I can't remember what the term is-I was aware but not due to molestation as a child. Anyway, I agree with Blueyedcole. I do understand what you were trying to say and I didn't feel like I was stupid for not fighting. I also have to give an "Atta girl!" though for her choice of ruining his day. ;)

  3. In America at least, it is standard procedure to handcuff suspects whether they are resisting, compliant, incapacitated, or dying. And also in America, due to the general hatred many (ignorant) people have for police, shootouts can attract mobs that are hostile to police for killing a person, even when the suspect in question has shot at the police. This often has the opposite of the intended effect because an anti-police mob is not very safe for police, making them unable to give medical attention to the suspect.

    It happens more than you would expect in shootouts that happen during the day, but mobs only form in populated areas.

  4. Oh and I forgot to mention, you said "I'm am" in the third to last paragraph

  5. Wait, thought that is you bleed from your penis, it is possible that you can bleed to death? Saw it once on 1000 ways to die but in that case it was cut off so I dont really know?

  6. Hey - my heart breaks for this young women.

    As far as the man shot, I respectfully have to agree to disagree.

    If you point a gun at a cop there are conciciences to that action. I'm from Chicago and we see this nightly. We also see that these usually have groups of people, aka fellow gangbangers, hanging around the scene, all armed. The cops are completely out numbered. If it's a difference of my loved one (cop) coming home, or dude...I'll take my good guy.

    I never, ever want to attend another cops funeral. I never want to see a widow and her children destroyed by senseless violence, I never want to attend trials where the accused is turned into a "choir boy" for the juries sake...enough is enough.

    God Bless all our first responders, doctors, and nurses that have to deal with this daily. I'm a very proud member of the Chicago Police Department Family. And as you said in an earlier post, family first.

  7. Update from my previous post. Not but a couple hours later we've had two Chicago Police Officers shot this evening. One to the leg, and the other to the vest.

    God, please protect them, watch out for their families and brothers and sisters in blue.

    It's summer in the "hoods" God knows how many homicides, and shooting victim in total so far.

    1. While I have the utmost respect for police officers, I have to respectfully disagree. My job is to save everyone that comes through the door, not to judge them on what they've done. I've cared for murderers, rapists, child abusers, and other scum of the earth. I may not be as kind to them as I am to everyone else, but I give them the same chance I give everyone else. Everyone deserves that chance.

    2. And that's what makes you a damn good doctor.

  8. Good Morning - I respect that, and admire your ability to separate person from circumstances.


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