The Fracture

Time and Scene was a mid-summer, Charity ER, Orthopedic Fracture room.


The next in line for treatment was a very quiet, pleasant mother with her 12-year-old, smiling son.  On duty was the 1st year Ortho Resident and an intern on orthopedic rotation.

The mother related the history that the young boy had fallen from his bike and injured his left wrist.  He was accordingly sent to x-ray and when he returned, the x-rays were reviewed and a non-displaced radial fracture was diagnosed.

The new intern had never put on a cast, so the resident thought this would be a good, simple case on which for him to get started.  The intern had watched casts being applied before so he was given some basic instructions and told to apply a short-arm cast to this young patient.

He finished his job in a reasonable length of time, perfectly smooth, well molded and it passed intensive scrutiny by the resident.  The resident then wrote a prescription to return to the ortho clinic in 3 weeks and handed it to the mother.  She thanked the resident and then said, “Now what are you going to do with the broke arm, Doctor?”

The perfect cast was on the wrong arm!


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