On Call During A Riot

Last night while on call I treated rubber bullet injuries.

I treated MANY rubber bullet injuries.

If you thought rubber bullets only cause bruising – well, you’d be wrong. They can penetrate. During my fourth year forensic pathology rotation, we did an autopsy on a man who died due to a rubber bullet embolism.  Continue reading “On Call During A Riot”

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Sometimes I Don’t Want To Know

a4c50964f550a70443d53e51fe887a82I didn’t want to know that the man with the compound skull fracture had fallen into a sewer drain while being chased by the police because he was the man that had been scamming poor people out of their grant money for months.

I didn’t want to know that the man with the gangrenous arm had been bitten two weeks ago, by a girl he was trying to rape.

I understand the importance of a good clinical history. But right now, while I’m saving their lives, can I not simply know that he fell in a ditch? Or that he suffered a human bite?

I don’t want to know WHY these things happened to them. Not right now in any case. Tell me later, when they have pulled through the worst. Tell me then, if you must.

Is this wrong? Continue reading “Sometimes I Don’t Want To Know”

A Sadder Stabbed Heart

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By Redmer Hoekstra

When I got a call one morning at 06h00 to notify me of a stabbed heart in Trauma, I was not filled with trepidation like the last time I received such a call. I thought, “I’ve done this before. I know what to do.”

But I did also get the call while I was busy crushing an arresting person’s ribs, so it took me a while to get to him.

When I arrived in Trauma, the stabbed patient had also arrested. The Trauma docs were already doing compressions. We put in a chest drain. We got him back for a few minutes. I called to theatre, but they were already scrubbed on another emergency. Our hospital only has one emergency theatre after-hours.

As the most junior in the room, I ran to blood bank to get emergency blood.

While I was away, our patient coded again. The doctors and nurses in Trauma resuscitated, again. One of my seniors briefly scrubbed out of theatre to perform an emergency thoracotomy. Continue reading “A Sadder Stabbed Heart”

Under Thy Fingers*

My phone rings while I am taking ward round.

“Doctor, you must come quickly,” says the ER nurse, “We have a stab-heart in Casualty.”

And I run, like they tell you in med school to run for stabbed hearts.

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What do you do for a stabbed heart again? I prompt myself as I run. Continue reading “Under Thy Fingers*”