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.