Thursday, May 7, 2009

Who Are You?

A bit of advice for anyone thinking of ending up in the trauma bay - don't wear your favorite pair of jeans.  Cutting off a patient's clothes is one of the first steps of the trauma protocol.  While doctors are completing their primary survey, the nurse is getting a line and the tech is getting the patient on the monitor, somebody in the back is generally digging through the shredded pants to find a wallet.  You can learn a lot about a person by what they keep in their pockets.

For an unconscious patient, finding a driver's license may be our only way to ID them.  Some people carry a list of emergency phone numbers in their wallet, others a blood donor card with their blood type on it.  

The best wallets are the overstuffed receptacles of every scrap of paper ever received by the patient.  Digging through to find any cash that needs to be locked up, I've come across dinner receipts from 10 years prior, lotto tickets, business cards, pictures of family, and multiple sets of fake IDs.  Discount membership cards reveal where a patient shops.  Does the patient smoke?  Check the pockets for a lighter.  Drink?  I've come across a couple flasks.  Sometimes the shoes - stained and caked in mud, or shiny and polished - can offer clues to the patient's occupation.

And don't even get me started about the underwear.

My favorites, though, are the unexpected discoveries.  Three bottles of oxy buried in the bottom of a purse, for example.  Knives ranging from Swiss Army to machete size.  The occasional brass knuckles or crack pipe. Or, like a gentleman from the other night, $4500 in small-denomination bills found in his left pajama pocket.  

I wonder why my pockets say about me?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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