Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tales From The Trauma Bay

My husband has a saying: Alcohol is the fuel of the trauma bay. You have no idea how true that statement is. On any given day 75% or more of his patients are involved in some sort of self-inflicted medical emergency while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both.

I know that not all hospitals are created equally, and that the consumer at each hospital is a little different. Long gone are the days when he sees people suffering from regular neurosurgical conditions like degenerative disc disease. These people like to break themselves quickly. This is the first hospital he has worked at that pretty much exists to take care of this group. My husband works at a level 1 trauma center in a large city. Imagine the ED room from the now retired TV series ER. He sees some crazy things that would make a great ER series.

Many of the cases that come through are worthy of coverage and yet I wonder why more people don't hear about them. I know there are all the HIPPA regulations, but their stories deserve to be heard. If nothing more than to serve as a public service announcement along the lines of

DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE, BIKE, WALK, SKIP, CLIMB STAIRS, RUN, SKATEBOARD, ROLLERBLADE, SWIM, DANCE, or anything else that requires movement of any kind. You are better off staying completely still. Don't move.

I think true stories like the one I am going to tell could go a long way in the education sector to prevent or discourage the abuse of drugs and alcohol. A compilation of sad, heart breaking, and photographed stories could serve a greater good. If you see something on a book shelf soon (if there isn't one already) then maybe my name will be on it. It wouldn't be hard to compile, there is plenty of material. Problem is, nobody wants to be in it.

Are you ready for a story?

Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl who went to a birthday party with her friends. They had  too much cake and too much punch. Mostly "punch". On their way home by automobile, this beautiful girl decided that she needed to use the bathroom but forgot or didn't care that the car she was riding in was moving. She opened the car door and stepped out.  Now she is paralyzed and will never pee on her own again.  The end.

No happily ever after. There rarely are happy endings in these scenarios. What usually happens is parents crying by the bedside wondering how in the world this ever happened. Maybe their daughter should have been exposed to more true stories like this one. It happens all the time.

Our children are getting to the age where it's time to talk about drugs and alcohol. Maybe we will just take them down to the emergency room and show them. It is not pretty.


1 comment:

  1. Ugh... You should compile these types of stories, publish a bunch of vignettes and distribute them to all high school freshman. :(


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