My adventures as a pre-med college student volunteering in the ER and trying to hold my own as an EMT student.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Calling all podiatrists!

I find that there's sometimes a theme in the ER, last weekend it was pediatric cases, this weekend it's feet! Within the first twenty minutes of walking into the hospital, I had seen two broken feet, and a toe that had been severely mangled. First girl was about 17 years old, she had fallen off the roof while trying to hang Christmas lights. She had broken it, but instead of calling her mom right away to take her to the hospital, she walked to her boyfriends house, and then about a mile to Wendy's. After eating a nice hamburger, she decided it was time to call her mom. The doctor called us in to look at the foot. I was a little shocked when I looked down and saw only her big toe and her pinkie toe. She had been born with Edward's Syndrome, a genetic disease caused by an extra 18th chromosome, that had caused deformities in her fingers and toes. Poor girl, she had an awesome attitude, and was laughing about her clumsiness all the way out.

Second foot case, a young man had come in with his girlfriend. He had hurt his foot while trying to teach his girlfriend's son how to ride a bike (aw). Apparently, his girlfriend called him a big baby when he kept asking her to drive him to the ER. Eventually she gave in, and lookie there, a clean break in his third metatarsal. His girlfriend felt terrible, he'll probably be milking it for the next month, I know I would be.

Third and final foot case of the night, a woman in her forties comes in by ambulance, absolutely screaming her head off. She's babying her foot, which was wrapped up so I couldn't really see much, but the medics were rolling their eyes at the dramatics, so I assumed it wasn't too serious. She's in a dangerously short night gown, smells heavily of smoke and I think there was little alcohol on board. Apparently she was getting ready to go to bed, when her dog got out. She ran after the dog, and somehow her toe got stuck underneath the door? The pad on her toe was a little skinned, but no bone showing, and no damage. The doctor called Katie and I in when he went to stick her with the numbing medicine. He went with the standard, "This is going to pinch a little." She immediately starting crying, banging her hand on the bed, and yelling for her mommy (I'm not kidding). I had to stifle my laugh, as the doctor literally had not even touched her yet. She kind of became a pleasant person after the nerve blockers kicked in, and her boyfriend eventually came to pick her up. He came in wearing a suit, Katie and I cracked up at how different he was compared to what we had been expecting. They wrapped her up, and sent her on her way with some Lortabs.

Most disgusting case of the night, a 92 year old woman comes in via ambulance, complaining of abdominal pain.  She seemed a little out of it, but actually looked pretty good for her age. Her hair was done, she had a french manicure, her toes had been painted pink. The nurse asked if I would assist her while she tried to hook her up to a catheter. I gave her a look like, "Yeah...if I have to". The nurse started taking off the woman's pajamas, taking off her diaper, and surprise! This woman had extremely loose stool (to be medically correct). It was everywhere, I had to keep my eyes on the television as she was being cleaned up. My gag reflex was having a moment of doubt. After she was cleaned up, and the catheter was in (ouch), it became Katie and I's job to make sure she drank the contrast needed for a CT. She would drink a little sip when we initially came in, but refused to drink anything else until we left and came back later. We figured out the woman didn't have a good sense of time, so we would stand outside her room, count to ten, go back in and get her to take a sip. Then we would wait a few more seconds and repeat. As long as she thought we were leaving for awhile, she would take a sip. High-five for tricking the elderly!

The last interesting case of the night, a woman in her eighties came in with her husband after shortness of breath woke her up. She had a harsh murmur, heard over her "aortic area". She was hilarious. A nurse came in to draw blood and when she stuck her with the needle, the woman screamed at her. The nurse was startled, looking a little wide-eyed at her. The woman started cracking up, saying she was only joking. She was really patient, and let me practice a blood pressure reading on her. I even got to listen to the murmur through the doctor's stethoscope. I hope nothing serious was going on, she was so nice!

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