Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Good will

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.  


  1. many years ago, I (not my real name) was working on a commercial remodel. I was pulling cable into a conduit that had been secured to a brace made by a pick-up carpenter. as I (still not my real name) was putting tension on the rope, trying to get the cable moving, the brace pulled loose from the wall, and I got hit in the face with the sharp end of the fitting (namely the screw heads) which split my lip. the ER doctor ( I sincerely hope they didn't bother a trauma surgeon for it - I certainly didn't ask for a trauma surgeon - and for that matter, I figured urgent care would have been sufficient. (I only had a half hour lunch break, after all, and the ice cube from my water bottle would only last so long...)

    but aside from that - after they got done stitching my lip together (lips are an awkward place to have stitches, in case you were wondering) I did my best to go back to work. (by which I mean I got called in to fill out an accident report, and then got called back to fill out another one, because the first had the wrong insurance company's name across the top, and then called back in because the company wanted me to go back to the hospital to provide a urine sample.)

    by which I mean to say, Kevin (not his real name) is a wimp.

  2. Two days off for each stitch. That's a new one.
    Ken Brown is right. "Kevin" is a big old pansy and someone needs to take his knife away from him before he hurts himself again.

    Can you say knife=penis extension LOL

    1. more to the point, I had a suspicious mole removed from my back last year (involving about 10 stitches if I remember right) and then I went and dug a trench. I actually probably SHOULD have taken a little more time off, since somewhere between that and the follow up visit I pulled one of the stitches through...

      and you're right - anyone who forgets to close a pocket knife before putting it away has no business being allowed sharp objects.

  3. I had an injury while working once. The manager told me to go home and take the next day off. Then the legal team came in and forced me to get a doctor's note for taking time off when I was actually completely willing to work but was told not to. The reaction the doctor gave me when I asked for a note... I mean, ouch.
    I didn't take offence because I guess I understood where he was coming from.

  4. 5 months ago my brother had a traumatic accident that resulted in him losing the lower portion of his left leg. He was flown to the closest trauma center and within minutes taken into the O.R. to have the leg removed. He called me from recovery and needless to say, I got a bit weepy. He started making jokes to try to make me laugh, which it did. He then said, in the big picture, I'm fine. It wasn't his brain, internal injuries, simply (in his eyes) the lose of a leg.

    He was released 8 days later, and a week after that was in Las Vegas for a business conference. I believe he worked most of the time in the hospital remotely.

    He has two new legs, travels weekly for work, and back to all his hobbies...hockey, golf, motorcycle racing, and beach vacations.

    Let me say...it's gonna suck for any future pity parties I might want to have...lol.

  5. When i first started working as a cna i was taking out the trash in the middle of winter and the ground was icy behind the dumpster. As my luck would have it i slipped and had my knee cap wrenched out of its socket and promptly forced back into place by my tendons. I collapsed to the ground because it hurt so badly. But after a couple minutes of waiting for the pain to fade i got up wiped the tears of pain from my cheeks and got my ass back to work. I didn't even bother telling anyone because that wasn't the first time it happened and it wasn't the last either.

    1. might have been a good idea to tell someone who could have put down some grit so the next person wouldn't slip.

    2. The maintenance guy salted it every day amd had a bucket sitting by the dumpsters with more salt in it so i put some more down before i went back inside.

  6. Thank you for the wonderful blog. It is indeed informative and useful. We are into the same occupation. For know more about us, please visit Trauma surgery today.

  7. I do not understand adults who want to skip work. They must be the same people in high school who tried to skip class. I want to be at work because making money is far better than sitting on my couch pretending to be sick.


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