Thursday, 27 July 2017


To me (and hopefully to you), education does not necessarily mean what one learns in a classroom.  Sure, there are plenty of things to learn while sitting and listening to someone with the charisma of an oak tree droning on and on about what some army general 300 years ago did to win some plot of land that doesn't even belong to that country that no longer even exists.  However, practical knowledge is more important than anything else.  Except maths - for fuck's sake, learn your maths.  How else are you going to know how much that sale is saving you?

Anyway, the most educational experience of my life has undoubtedly been in the trauma bay.  There are so many lessons I have learned there through the years, and though I'm not saying you can't learn this stuff elsewhere, I personally would likely never have learned them anywhere else for any reason.  These are pearls of wisdom that I will teach my children and take with me everywhere until the day I take my last breath.

And I'd like to share a few of them now.

Ahem . . .

Donkeys are singularly nasty creatures.

A donkey bite looks shockingly like a human bite. 

Helmets work well, but only when applied to the head.  Corollary: helmets are shit at protecting the face.

Gravel is hard to remove from skin.  

Asphalt is much harder than bone.

Many people underestimate gravity.

Trucks have the capacity to move out of the way.  Trees don't. 

Untreated schizophrenia is fucking terrifying.

PCP intoxication can look surprisingly (and terrifyingly) like untreated schizophrenia.

People will deny anything, even something glaringly obvious, for any reason.

Your dog will eat your foot if it gets hungry enough.

A bag of drugs can be hidden in literally any bodily orifice.  If one is not available, a new one can and will be created. 

Power tools can explode. 

People will lie, cheat, steal, beg, plead, wheedle, cajole, bargain, debate, and negotiate for a prescription for narcotics that they don't need. 

Children who have parents that don't give a damn will do stupid things at 2 AM.

Percocet can be a gateway to heroin. 

Holding your baby in your arms will not necessarily stop a pissed off ex from shooting or stabbing you. 

Jealousy is apparently a good enough reason to stab someone in the heart. 

A hammer can be just as lethal as a gun.  So can a deer.

There truly is no limit to the depth of human stupidity.


Now I fully realise that last lesson can be learned by anyone in nearly any field.  Everyone has stupid stories to tell, many of them hilarious in their absurdity.  But the difference is that only in very few occupations can your stupidity kill you.  Or others.


  1. And above all, "Don't let your studies interfere with your education". – Pete Seeger.

  2. A helmet saved my husbands life this past Saturday.
    Can't say the same for his collarbone and ribs.


    "A donkey bite looks shockingly like a human bite."
    - You treated someone with a donkey bite? What did you do to/for them? Donkeys aren't carnivorous so I'd never think of being bitten by one. But then again, I've only been around horses, never donkeys. And I always picture you being somewhere in or near London, so I can't imagine an urban/suburban MD treating a donkey bite. (At least not without guffawing in the patient's face.) How'd you get a donkey bite case?

    "Your dog will eat your foot if it gets hungry enough.
    - I firmly believe no dog would eat his human's foot unless A) you treated your dog like shit or B) you were already dead, in which case there would be no ER visit. So that tidit definitely merits a full-on story.

    1. Dogs are stupid creatures, and I say that while rubbing my dog's tummy. They absolutely will eat you if you seem dead or pass out. There's plenty of stories anout dogs eating their owner's faces, some were dead, some weren't. Most had bowls of food still. We're made of meat and apparently taste delicious.

    2. and if you dig through the archives, you will find the circumstances under which the dog ate the man's toes. (by which I mean the full on story)

    3. I'm from Texas. And I've been around plenty of donkeys to know they can be complete jackasses (pun intended) when they want to be and can and will take a bite out of your hide given the chance. Sneaky little bastards.

    4. Doc told a previous story where a dog was eating his owners gangrenous toes. It was a long time ago though.

    5. Zoo employee taking care of donkey. That is the possibility of getting such a bite in an urban environment.


    6. Most animals will bite if they are scared, injured, sick, etc. even if they are normally herbivores.

      I used to work as a lawyer for Liberty Mutual Insurance defending personal injury claims, normally auto accidents and slip-and-falls but also some relatively exotic claims as well. Our office handled a horse bite case where a woman had a sick horse, her neighbor (a self-styled horse expert) offered to examine the sick horse and give her advice on how to care for her sick horse, and the horse bit into the neighbor's breast and threw her across the barn. The bite inflicted a serious wound that required surgery to repair and resulted in significant disfigurement.

  4. He DID do a post on the dog eats toe story.

  5. Indeed he did and here is the link.

    Horses will bite as will donkeys,cows,sheep,pigs pretty much anything with teeth if provoked enough or if they are having a bad day or because they want to see what people taste like, they are drunk/stoned/both, hungry enough.

    Fotunately i have only been bitten twice whilst i worked with animals.
    Once was because a dumb dog tried to get through a fence and got his paw stuck.
    He went to bite the fence and caught me.

    The other time was when a dog who was known to be a bit of a bully, picked on the wrong dog and they got into a fight.
    I got a nip on my wrist when seperating the two. I think it was justified but at the wrong target since the other dog was trying to chew the bully dog's penis and balls off (he was mighty pissed with the bully dog) my hand was trying to detach jaws from balls.
    Strangely enough, after i had lectured both dogs on their behavior, i never had another problem with bully dog or any other dogs i was looking after.
    Said dog had to have several stitches in his sheath and scrotum and walked funny for a week tee hee.

    Keep the lessons and stories coming Doc please and thank you.

    1. Thanks everso for that link, tania,

  6. you can estimate how badly a biker or cowboy is hurt by whether he is fine with you cutting his clothes off.

  7. I have seen some stupid people do some stupid things. My favorite- Double DUI, one and only time I have ever seen it.. Both participants were DUI and it was a head on collision, on a back road in a fairly large city, and they didn't know each other, one had bud light and the other had a PBR in their cup holders.

    I miss graveyards, midday bs is just- hey we are in a massive traffic jam from 3pm to 8pm, took my driver 75 minutes to go 14 blocks..
    And these same stupid assholes that are caught broke down in the middle of traffic making it worse scream obscenities at us for not being able to defy the laws of physics and men..

    And medics are dumbasses, but I'm thankful for them.
    We were called for a rollover, woman canned her own cherry jubilee and salsa (this will be important), we get the call and we arrive at the same time as the medics, they pull the woman and man to safety but the woman has 5 show Chihuahuas that rolled with the suburban.. As you can see this story is going to be really messed up or really funny..
    My poor guys are tasked with dog recovery as the medics are preoccupied with a flipped out woman over her dogs, the dogs come crawling out after they hear my driver calling them, the medic comes over to get the dogs and starts screaming they are covered in brains which in turn flips the woman out more..
    My tow truck driver sees the dogs are coated in cherries and salsa and he tells the medic that the brains look mighty tasty, at this point all the dogs are accounted for.. The medic tells my driver he is a sick fuck for thinking brains look good, my driver tells him to use some common sense, where the hell are the brains from if everyone and animal in the truck is accounted for including their brains..
    I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure brains does not look like cherries jubilee and salsa mixed together, but I have been wrong before.

    1. on that note, it is frequently not better to be thrown clear, and it is invariably worse to be thrown partway clear; and this goes for dogs as well.

      and a good emergency responder WILL hold an impromptu roadside memorial service for a deceased canine.

  8. if there is a medical call involving a woman over 80, odds are it will be memorable.

  9. nobody has ever had more than a couple of drinks.

  10. You are absolutely correct. Education is the most important element for everyone that everyone should gain at best level.

    1. why do I get the idea you are probing the waters to see if you can sneak some spam in here?

    2. Drink cherry coke......
      At KFC.....

    3. "everyone should gain at best level"!?

      I despair both of your education and of your "dissertation writing service"!

      Rule 1 in selling your services as a writer: Try to write something people can understand in your advert.

  11. My best friend and fellow rookie FF worked a call with me a night if a teen aged suicide of a 12 gauge to the head, patient sitting on his parents bed, ceiling fan on high. Anyone who's been there knows where this is going. Brains everywhere. Every-freaking-where. The fan did a fine job of placing every thing that was in his head throughout that room, very very well. What does my buddy come in and say very first thing? Who ordered the cheeto's? He swore up and down, and side to side that brains smelled like cheetos. Till this day. He will no longer eats cheetos. But every single time he opens a bag it reminds him and now me of that night. Weird. Really weird how we do this to ourselves.

  12. Oh and when you 'tuck & roll' in a motor cycle accident (like my uncle did, while wearing a helmet, it does nothing for the severing of the spinal cord and your brain upon impact with the highway. The rest of the damage was just collateral damage. That was the money maker. While the 'tuck and roll' method has 'helped' me out of a few dirt bike wrecks in one piece in his case helmet or not, nothing would have saved him that night.

  13. Motor vehicle accidents involving a drunk and sober driver always end with the drunk walking away and the sober person on the OR table.

    1. not 100% reliable, but enough to count as a trend.

  14. it is possible for a wedding ring accident to remove a finger so completely, it is like it was never there.

  15. Children whose parents do give a damn do stupid things at 2am, too.

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