Friday, October 24, 2008

Big Dude

Most patients enter our ER through one of two ways, either walking into the waiting room or arriving in the ambulance bay via EMS*.  A few weeks ago, however, I noticed a van parked in the ambulance bay as the charge nurse came over to ask for an extra set of hands.  Wheeling a stretcher out to the van, the doors opened to reveal the largest human being I've ever seen.  Later measurements confirmed that he weighed in a just under 700 pounds.  Surrounding the stretcher with ER staff and positioning it behind the gentleman, we had him basically fall onto the gurney before taking a running start to push him up the small ramp and into the ED, where he was evaluated for back pain.

At the time, I figured our encounter would be a once in a lifetime experience, so imagine my surprise when he returned a few days later as a trauma patient after falling at home.  Pressing him for information about the fall, the triage nurse learned that the bannister on his staircase had broken beneath him, prompting a tumble down a flight of stairs*.  

*Contrary to popular belief #1: arriving by ambulance does not get you seen faster.  Ambulance patients wait just as long as everyone else, though if they have an IV they must stay in our triage hallway rather than the waiting room to prevent them from walking out and shooting up through their line.

*Contrary to popular belief #2: despite the rumors making their way through the ER at the time, we do not transfer patients to veterinary hospitals if they are too large for our CT scanner.

1 comment:

keepbreathing said...

We don't send ours to vet hospitals either; we just lube 'em up with some butter. It helps fit 'em in the scanner, and the smell's not half bad either.