The unfortunate reality is that I get a lot of bullshit trauma. A lot. A LOOOOOT. Out of 20 patients I may see in a 24-hour period, perhaps 3 or 4 will actually be critically injured, requiring some kind of life-saving treatment or manoeuvre. That leaves (if you're following along the arithmetic with me) about 79.9999% of patients who at least have some sort of injury that, while it won't kill them, at least needs some sort of attention by a medical professional.
"Wait just one damned second, Doc. What happened to that other 0.0001%? Sixteen divided by twenty is 0.8, not 0.79999! Did you fail maths? Lawl!"
Settle down there, math wizard. That 0.0001% belongs to the 1-in-1,000,000 patient like Howard (not his real name©).
Howard was playing basketball. Howard got poked in the eye. Howard was brought to me.
No seriously, that's it. That's the whole story. He didn't fall, didn't hit his head, didn't lose consciousness, didn't sprain his ankle, didn't have any other injuries. He just got poked in the eye. Hell, I injured myself worse than Howard that morning while I was shaving.
But that's the wile story - the medics brought him to my hospital . . . to my trauma bay . . . to me . . . because he got poked in the eye. His eye wasn't hanging out of his head, it wasn't bleeding, it wasn't swollen, there were no lacerations. Oh, and his vision was of course totally normal. How's that for glamorous?
I felt bad taking 5 seconds to look over him and send him home, but that's all I could do. I couldn't justify doing any blood work, X-rays, CT scans, or anything else for that matter. I should be happy to get such an uninjured patient, but it left me feeling annoyed and strangely empty.
I think the next time I nick myself shaving, I'll call an ambulance. It'll probably be a quicker way of getting to work than driving myself.