March of the Platypi: Rites of Spring (v, '11)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rites of Spring (v, '11)

Like a guest who doesn't take the hint, winter has been slow in making its departure. Temperatures have barely gotten out of the 40s, except for Sunday when it did an eighty degree spike. I didn't have to go outside to know that; the constant ringing of the resuscitation bell was enough. It started with the car wrecks, then stabbings, and finally the shootings.

There were no fewer than six serious gunshot traumas by my count. One of our new hires said "they had told me about this", the shit that goes down when it warms up, "but I had no idea". The next day, Monday, the temperatures dropped back down into the fifties. Nobody was shot.

I wasn't involved in this particular resuscitation but I went looking for a resident to get a work note for a patient of mine. I found him working on saving a kid who was obviously far gone. It was a gruesome scene. They performed a thoracotomy, or cracked his chest if you will, and the staff surgeon was massaging his heart. A resident also had a hand in there and he said he felt a bullet. I returned to my patient and told him that his doctor was tied up but I didn't expect it to be for long.

Returning to the trauma room, a grimace and shake of the surgeon's head told it all and the code was called a moment later. My patient worked in one of our ICUs, so I figured it was okay to tell him what was going on. That piqued his interest, he had been hearing the traumas being announced for hours, and he asked about working with us. I told him we had some people give notice and I gave him the names of some managers. He may be disappointed when he finds out that we don't open up chests every day.

Returning to the resuscitation room, they were cleaning up. I don't know if they pulled it out of the victim or found it in his clothing but there was a bullet in a specimen bag. It was a hollow-point. I'd never actually seen one of these things. Try to visualize a flower, made of metal, with sharp metallic petals radiating from the center. Viewed head on it looked like a .40 caliber Ninja throwing star. It was a viscious looking thing.

Apparently it was a random shooting. He was randomly shot eleven times in the chest with little spinning buzz saws. Mmmmmkay. A security cop told me that when a detective came to investigate, he introduced himself to the family and asked if they had anything to say. Nobody offered a word.

Back at my assignment, a medic passing by stopped to tell me something. He had responded to his first motorcycle fatality. There was a hint of creepiness in his story in that he seemed almost giddy in witnessing the first real sign of spring, as if he has seen a robin or something. A rider was stopped a a light when an SUV came from behind and sent him flying and, as he described it, "popped his helmet off". I've always thought that riding a motorcyle would fun except, of course, for that being smashed by a car and sent flying thing.

It slowed down around Midnight and at 2AM I took a new assignment: resuscitation. I figured it was pretty much over but it wasn't long before we received another double shooting followed almost simultaneously by an unrelated Level One stabbing. The one I worked on ended up going to surgery to clean out his wound. The injury itself didn't appear immediately life threatening, it was basically a flesh wound, but it looked like a shark bite, or at least what I imagined a shark bite would look like. I reassured him that he was awake and talking and his vital signs were stable but I told him it was going to leave a mark. I wondered to myself if he had encountered the same shooter whose work I had witnessed earlier. It wasn't your typical through and through gunshot wound.

I accompanied him to the OR and chatted him up. He seemed like a nice guy. He had a profession, came across as intelligent and had some college behind him, and I believed his story about sitting on a neighbor's porch when he was just randomly shot.

While we were going through his clothes, he asked my coworker to throw the condom away. "What?", she asked. He said there was a condom in there, and he didn't want his ex-wife to find it if she were to receive his belongings. I guess he figured he had enough problems already.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sereena X

4/12/2012 1:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear one of the most dangerous things you can do is sit on your own front porch minding your own business.

4/19/2012 9:26 AM  
Anonymous Luda said...

I don't think I could do what you do.

4/19/2012 12:23 PM  

<< Home