I often bemoaned the fact that I tend not to get sent to many jobs involving ‘trauma’. If you’ve been stabbed, I’ll be down the road picking up a maternataxi. If you’ve fallen out of a second floor window, I’ll be one street over dealing with the sleeping drunk. And if you’ve thrown yourself under a tube train, I’ll be one stop down dealing with the twisted ankle.
So the smallest little traumatic injury makes me happy.
We were sent to a fifty year old man who had fallen. We made our way up the stairs to the gentleman’s bedroom and saw him lying on his bed with a woman in a nursing uniform crying her eyes out. The patient had indeed fallen, his foot was the main injury.
The patient normally wears a caliper on his foot, due to nerve damage from having polio as a child. He had fallen and the caliper had caused the toes of his right foot to bend upwards. He had split the skin on the underside of his foot where the toes meet the body of the foot, and he had probably broken something.
The woman in the nursing uniform (who turned out the be the patients wife), told us that at least one toe had been dislocated, and that the patient had twisted it back into shape himself.
He was, unsurprisingly, in a lot of pain.
First, we got the patient some pain relief, some Entonox. The Paramedic I was with was going to give him something stronger, but the patients pain completely disappeared with the ‘laughing gas’.
We then bandaged his foot, and placed it in a vacuum splint. This is pretty much a sand filled bag, that becomes rigid when you suck the air out of it. They are very handy when dealing with injuries in awkward areas. I don’t get to use them often, but when I’ve needed one, they are perfect.
We then had to, very carefully, carry the patient down the stairs.
All the time the patient was thanking us for looking after his pain, and for helping him get to hospital. He was a genuinely nice man, and his wife was nice as well. It was a good job, in that we were able to help someone who needed help and while we needed to put our thinking caps on as to how best to get the patient out of the house the job went smoothly.
I spoke to him later in hospital – he’d managed to break three toes and one of the bones in his foot, his wife was still with him, and once again they thanked us (and let us know that the Entonox was a better pain-killer than anything the hospital gave them).
It put me in a good frame of mind for the rest of the day.