Monday, November 9, 2009

You're welcome

Weekend overnights at the county hospital ER can be a parade of drunken brutality -- accidents, assaults, all-around bad judgment and poor life choices. These are the patients whose stories so often begin "I was just minding my own business...." They're generally soused to the gills. We spend hours stabilizing their fractures, scanning their head bleeds, sewing up their lacerations, and in return we get cussed out, vomited upon, spat at, and even assaulted. All part of the job, although sometimes it gets a little stale.

And then, usually once a night, there will be the patient who has equally bad injuries but who was, in fact, just caught in the crossfire -- a sober citizen who was assaulted out of the blue, or who had the unfortunate but non-alcohol-related auto accident. These are the patients who, as we're sending them home with a cast or admitting them to the Orthopedics service at 4:00 in the morning, will say "thank you." And that usually makes all the rest of it worth it.



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