Thursday, November 08, 2007

Weekends Are Fun. Right? (1a)

And so it went on...

While keeping an eye on some poor fella who'd been stabbed in the belly - We guessed he wasn't too bad when he began devoting his time to feeling up the nurses - I was chatting to one of the local Constabulary. I think they were all in the ED at some point that evening. Anyway, their little shoulder radios are always going off; they sound a little like the teacher from Charlie Brown to me. You can never quite hear what the jazz is.

Anyway... this time, the radio goes off, the copper listens intently for a while then looks over at me. I raise an eyebrow, quizzically. (In my mind...)

More squawking chatter; another glance.


Rueful smile. 'More business for you, Doc...'


Shake of the head. 'Doesn't sound good...'


'Another stabbing. In the neck. They're not sure if he'll do'

I look around the rest of the Dept. Minors and Majors are both heaving. I can't remember what the wait was by this stage, but I'm guessing it was over 6 hours to be seen. Ambos were already queueing...

Sure enough, a few minutes later the call came. Young man, multiple stab wounds, suspended. I remember the first time I took a call like that, I couldn't figure out why everyone was so excited, or why someone would be suspended.

From what? Eh? Oh.... that's what it means...

How times change.

The next few hours were very ER.

The details blur around me, faster and faster as the days go by. I remember his colour, a pale, waxy yellow. It's never good, but you don't need me to tell you that. His chest laid bare, the wounds on his chest so small, so innocuous looking. So little blood.

That didn't last.

Part of you knows there's no hope. But most of you doesn't want to believe it; and you want to try. He's so fucking young. The worst part of you feeds on the adrenaline, and wants to act because it's cool. It's exciting. It feeds the beast.

As ever, telling the family was the worst. They look you in the eye, and plead: 'Why can't you fix him. Do something, fix him, make him better...' The despair tailing off as the brutal reality slowly sinks home; oh, so slowly.

You could stick a fork in me after that. I was done.

Does it count for anything? Does it tally somewhere that we all tried as hard as we could, flying in the face of a lost cause.

I'm not sure. The only tangible results will be a blip in the waiting time for those hours when we tried. Will a time come when I see this case and call a halt straight away, when I admit the hopelessness, and devote myself to the big picture?

I don't know.


Ross said...

Hey Dr Shroom!

Really loving this blog and find it to be one of the most realistic medical blogs out there and as such also one of the most heartfelt and emotionally charged.

Thank you for writing it!

ps suspended? Wha'?

DrShroom said...

Suspended = dead; as in all activity suspended, I guess

Ross said...

Ah! Thats what I gathered but I couldn't be sure.

Why can't they say dead or no pulse or something?


DrShroom said...

Actually, they usually do now; I guess it was just a slang trend