Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Toys 'R' Us

Orthopedists have far too many cool toys.  Sure, we've got the rapid infuser and the defibrillator in the ED, but the Orthopods get the messy, hands-on, bone-crushing devices that look like they belong in a medieval dungeon.  And frankly, I'm jealous.

A couple nights ago we had a poor bastard who sliced the tips off two of his fingers in some sort of machinery accident.  Orthopod Resident came down, took a look into the stumps, and then explained that there was too much bone and not enough skin left to close.  Solution?  He whipped out a file and started whittling down the exposed bone until there was enough skin overhanging it to suture.  Badass.

Several months earlier I walked into the trauma room and discovered a team of Orthopods surrounding a (surprise!) no-helmet motorcyclist whose unfortunate collision with a guardrail left him with a rather impressive long bone fracture.  What caught my attention, however, was the resident wielding what appeared to be your standard, crank-operated hand drill as he bored through the patient's leg.  Mesmerized like the 8 year old boy whose father just let him play with the power tools, I watched as the drill bit worked it's way through the leg and poked it's head out the other side.  A curved piece of metal was connected to either end of the thin rod inserted into the leg, and was used to suspend a weight off the end of the stretcher to maintain traction (looking something like the picture above).

Now that is a cool way to make a living.

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