06 March 2006

Notable ER Stories

If you crave for excitement in a hospital, go to the Emergency Room (ER). Although it is not probably the excitement you can equate with your usual idea of fun, ER action is always extraordinary as it is the place where the delineation between life and death often gets blurred. It is the busiest part of the hospital where every pain and sickness is first seen in its raw form. Since Grand Rounds this week (hosted at Emergiblog) has an ER theme, I decided to compile and share with you my top three notable ER stories.

Warning: Some stories may be too graphic for you, so better turn back now while you can.

  • Grenade Friday - during a Friday night duty, a drunk soldier partying at a nightclub in Sta. Mesa, Manila threw a live grenade killing four people instantly, and injuring hundreds. All were brought into our hospital's ER. I have never seen a night so bloody in my entire life! For the first time, almost all the hospital staff had their hands full. There were no more delegation to respective specialties, as you can see even pediatric and dermatology residents helping out and doing minor surgeries on the spot. We had to pull extra hospital beds and line them on the hallway to accomodate the injured. I finished that ER duty tired, weary, and saw my uniform transform from white to red. Caked blood was all over my shirt and pants, and I looked like that fellow from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

  • John Doe Hammer - Somebody left him in front of our ER door one rainy Christmas Eve. Yea, 'talk about timing, huh? He had dirty and tattered clothing. Looking at his muscular built and big, thick hands, I surmised he was either a carpenter or a construction worker. He had no ID cards with him. He didn't even have a wallet. What was wrong with him? Well, he had a hammer's claw stuck on his head. He was alive but his vital stats were falling. The neurosurgeon decided against any operation since he said that would kill the man instantly. He expired two hours after sunrise on Christmas Day.

  • Suicidal Alice - this was her nth ER visit. She was an odd case, and ER people already know her. Her complaint? Slashed arms. She had two slash wounds on her left arm, and another three on the right arm. Not too deep. They were lacerations easily remedied by stitches. If you examine both her arms, they are full of these "slash-scars" self-inflicted over the years. She repeatedly slashes herself with a blade in an attempt to kill herself over a long-time lover who left her. The amazing thing is she always misses the vital arteries. She has had long psychiatric confinements but it doesn't seem to help as she always end up in the ER with her "arm-slashes."

Because I'm still a young doctor, I see many more years of ER excitement ahead of me. I'm not praying for any more gore and blood, but I'm ready if ever they happen. All in a day's work, as they say.

7 reactions:

psyche said...

life in the e.r. is indeed a test of character. that's why im still mad at some physicians na "tinatamad". defeats the purpose of training.

eye said...

i could imagine the 2nd case as an intro scene in one of csi episode's... the 3rd one is familiar, i know i've seen that somewhere in tv too :D

but seriously though, it's good that you see life in ER as an exciting and learning experience rather than routinary work :)

Toni said...

Yikes, nangatog ang tuhod ko just reading these stories. Ibang klaseng tapang at tatag talaga ang kailangan kapag nasa-E.R. ka, mapa-pasyente ka o mapa-doktor.

Char said...

E.R. Duty... I both miss it and loathe it. :) Btw... I have a new brand new copy of Rosen And Barkin's 5 minute Emergency Consult. Selling it cheap, must go! If you know someone, direct it to my webpage, thanks! Sorry for the plug, I got excited "seeing"someone who does duty in an ER. ;)

Dr. Emer said...

I know what you mean, Psyche.

Those medical soap operas do get their ideas from real life, Eye.

You can do it, too, Toni ;)

I'll ask around, Char. :)

Charity Doc said...

Grenade explosion, huh. That's a first for me. My experience with mass casualty is that no matter how much you plan you're never adequately prepared. I was recently involved in the greatest mass casualty incidence of last year. I volunteered at the PMAC on the campus of LSU. We saw over 40,000 patients in the first 4 days alone. It was a seen out of Fallujah or some war zone. Chinook helicopters landing one after another unloading patients. National guard humvees circling the campus. Soldiers carrying M16 asking for ID whenever you enter the triage area. Check out my recent blog:


Charity Doc said...