Monday, 10 January 2011

Emergency surgery

As luck would have it,we haven't had to do any emergency surgery since we opened the Minor Injury Unit some 5 years ago...the ambulance service is very good here and we are only a few miles from St Vulvas...

But I always knew the day would come though and have always been grateful that I worked in Trauma nursing in Johannesburg for so long...the days and nights standing...sweating and aching...holding retractors in the Resus Room...with a finger in some arbitrary anatomical hole in some arbitrary person, that was being rapidly over-sewn by a desperate surgeon.

And so, last Thursday , the worst happened.

The 10 year old child,-Imogen-,was crying and unhappy.

Her parents were anxious,huddled together at the foot of the bed.

Her teacher was white faced,shredding her tissue.

I had phoned the paediatricians who didn't know what I should do.

I had phoned the A&E Consultant who was also clueless

I had phoned the Poison Information center...who as usual knew nothing.

I had phoned Hamleys who were most helpful...

There was no time to waste....Imogen was crying and vomiting.

"Alright....",I looked at her and her parents...."I'm going to have to do an exploratory laparotomy...maybe even a thoracotomy...are you ready for this?"

Shouldn't we call someone else?

"There is no one else to call I'm afraid...its one...."

Ok said the dad,do what you need to do.

I looked at the teacher..."You understand I need to do this...I have to know what is happening here?"

The teacher just nodded.

"Okay then....Julian....just position the lights then...."

He did...and mopped my brow


He slapped the shears in my hand...Imogen gasped.

I grasped the patient firmly with my left hand and basically just cut him in half...

...the stinky slippery little smirking green plastic frog who had been the cause of all the trouble.

Water seeped out of him....just water...thank the Lord.

Imogen had been playing at school that afternoon and for reasons known only to herself,had decided to bite into a toy called a Splat Frog...she was adamant that some noxious green gel had come out if its belly which she had then swallowed...and of course she then felt unwell.

Looking the toy up on the Internet suggested that it was filled only with water...and so I guessed that she had 'simply' swallowed some warm dirty old rubbery water ...that contained who knew what...?

I sent her and the grateful parents home...the teacher whinged and bitched about the
unnecessary surgery...


I looked at Julian.

He looked back at me...Formaldehyde?


He nodded in agreement.

1 comment:

  1. Did you learn nothing at my knne about unnecessary and risky surgery? You really make my day!!!