Tuesday 23 September 2014
Most of the patients I see aren't injured severely enough to warrant time off from work and are able to go immediately back. Some I estimate will need a few days off, some need a week or two, and a few likely even need several months to recuperate. I don't mind writing excuse letters for those with severe injuries, and I'm typically rather lenient with granting time off to recover, partially because I feel bad for them, but mainly because I don't feel like arguing with people (I realise that may come as a surprise to you).
Unfortunately some people decide to take advantage of my good will.
Kevin (not his real name©) was brought to me a short while back in excruciating agony. The medics wheeled him in to my trauma bay quickly, in a bit of a panic, because of the "large" amount of blood loss at the scene. He had some blood on his pant leg and more on his hand, and both his left thigh and left hand were heavily bandaged. He was writhing around on the gurney like a snake on acid.
"AHHH! My leg! Oh my god, am I going to lose my leg?? Oh god I'm dying!"
As usual, step 1 is to inspect the wounds. I quickly unwrapped his hand and thigh and then paused, staring agape at what confronted me.
"How bad is it, Doc? Tell me straight. Am I going to live?"
The 2 cm laceration on his outer thigh and the 1 cm laceration on his ring finger, neither of which was bleeding, did not make me fear for his life.
"Yes, sir," I said flatly, doing my best not to slap the shit out of him for his histrionics. "I suspect you're going to be just fine. May I ask what happened here?
It turns out that Kevin carried a pocket knife but had forgotten to close the blade before putting it back in his pocket. He then sat on the blade, lacerating his thigh, and when he reached into his pocket to retrieve the knife, he cut his finger.
Twenty minutes and 5 stitches later, we were writing up his discharge papers. And that's when he hit me with this:
"So how much time off work am I gonna get for this? I think I'll probably need a week. Maybe two. Yeah, I think two."
I explained in no uncertain terms that he could go back to work the next day.
My good will only goes so far before running out.
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