After working a few years at Charity, the trauma becomes just another normal happening. You could never really imagine it happening to you, but there seemed to be this group of young males in Louisiana than could not help themselves. They would do things you would never consider, and they acted surprised to be in the Accident Room – either blown up, run over, crushed, burned, electrocuted, shot, stabbed, or “juged”as they called it.
One such patient presented with a fracture dislocation of his hip and the worst road rash that I have ever seen. Seventy five per cent of his body looked like he had been worked over with a cheese grater. And although a fracture dislocation of a hip can be fixed in surgery, you do not erase the injury. It will affect him for the rest of his life.
After the hip surgery and several days in the hospital doing painful dressing changes to the road rash, I had to ask what had happened. The patient was helping a friend move from one apartment to another. They had loaded his pick-up with furniture and the last thing on top was the mattress. They did not have any rope to tie down the mattress, so he thought he could just ride on top of the mattress and hold it down. Who thinks of this?
So they are going down I-10 and the patient can feel the mattress getting a little air under it, so he starts banging on the back window of the pick-up telling his friend to slow down. His friend somehow thought he was saying “go faster.” So the driver speeds up. Why would someone riding on the back of a pick up on a mattress want to go faster? I never got to meet the driver to ask. So now they are going about 70 miles per hour with the patient hanging on for dear life. As they come around the curve on I-10 in Metairie near the Lake Lawn Cemetery, some traffic is backed up so the driver has to hit the brakes. This launches the patient on the mattress. He told me he flew like a guy on a magic carpet and flew over a couple of cars and landed on the shoulder of the highway. He was able to stay on top of the mattress for a hundred feet or so as it slid down the asphalt. Finally, the mattress hung on something and he kept going down the asphalt—breaking his hip and becoming the world’s largest scab.
Just another day at Charity…..