In the space of fifteen minutes, and with a waiting room already jam-packed with patients waiting to be seen by myself and my colleague, these patients rocked up at the trauma unit yesterday. Some brought by the ambulance, some from the street. All pretty serious.
1: A man who had been stabbed in the neck "for no reason" by his brother.
2: An unconscious man found in the road by the police with a large bleeding wound from his head.
3: A lady who was sad that she had had a miscarriage so tried to kill herself by dousing her house and herself in paraffin. she survived but had 50 percent burns to the front part of her body including her face.
4: Another man stabbed in the neck and pouring blood from the wound.
5: A lady having a ?heart attack/?asthma attack/? pulmonary oedema
6: An unresponsive fifteen year old boy found in the bath by his mom and brother.
Six emergencies in 15 minutes, 2 young doctors with only three years experience each, and four nursing sisters. Does this make mathematical sense to you? And this is supposed to be an urban setting. I'm not even based in the middle of the Eastern Cape, or somewhere South of the Mozambiquan border.
The worst of them all was the 15 year old boy. He was carried in by his mom and brother after they found him sitting in the bath, completely unresponsive. They placed him on the bed and we assessed the situation. He was small for his age. He had no known medical history. Was not abusing drugs. No pills found lying around the the bathroom indicating an overdose.
He had no pulse and no respiration. His pupils were fixed and dilated. He had a flat line on the heart monitor. He had cold peripheries. In short, he was a DOA. (dead on arrival).
I had to go and tell the family who was waiting outside. There's no easy way to do this. One just has to say it. This was not the first time I've had to tell someone that they've lost their son, but the mother's screams always rip right through me and I have to try really hard not to burst out crying as well.
I'm 27 for God's sake! How the hell did I end up here dealing with all of this tragedy? This was not part of the plan. The plan involved me being fabulous, being famous and having people remove the green M & M's from my constant supply of sweeties.