Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Things That Make Me Sad

Most shifts are pretty routine combinations of patients who are decently sick or injured, and people who are completely full of it.  Very rarely, however, there are total tragedies that blow you away.  Case in point:

Two brothers arrive in the trauma bay a few minutes apart from each other after their car crashed into a telephone pole on a country road.  The older one came in first and was pretty much dead on arrival.  He was bleeding everywhere - out of his mouth, ears, and nose - and his skull was soft and pliable.  EMS delivered the younger brother, who was in much better shape, a few minutes later.

To make a long story short, the younger one was Spanish speaking only and without anyone in the US except his brother.  The two had been working here to send money to their family back home.  Social workers tried to call some of the kid's friends to support him before breaking the news of his brother's death, but being illegal immigrants, the friends were afraid to come in to the hospital.  Unable to reach any family in Mexico right away, social workers discovered that this young guy had lost his closest living relative and was suddenly alone in a country where he did not speak the language and had no one to comfort him.  Eventually, some of his friends arrived, but while all this was unfolding, I was in another room placing nasal tampons into the older brother's bruised and swollen face in an effort to stop the bleeding and make the body somewhat presentable.

Sometimes my job sucks.

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