I remember thinking ‘Oh for goodness sake’ when I saw the details of the call come up on the MDT.
“6 year old boy sustained elastic band injury.”
I reasoned, how much damage can a person do to themselves with an elastic band? When I arrived Mum was very distressed. At first glance the child appeared well although a little tearful; there were no obvious injuries. The father then presented me with the elastic band; but this wasn’t a hair-band or something little thing that you might hold a bunch of papers together with – it was a bungee elastic, the type of thing you may use to secure bikes on to roof racks!
Mum and child had been playing ‘tug of war’ with it (hind-sight is a wonderful thing…); she lost grip of her end and the bungee had pinged back and hit the lad in the eye. On further examination using a pen-torch, I could see that the anterior chamber of his left eye was full of blood and because of this he was blinded in that eye.
This just goes to show the importance of ascertaining the precise mechanism of the injury and carry out a full examination even in the most innocuous sounding calls!
This was quite different to the injury that I was faced with a few days ago. A young man loading a lorry had been struck in the eye and surrounding area by a bungee elastic and I could see his injury even before I stepped from my car. He was being supported on the floor by colleagues with an obviously fractured eye socket (orbit). His eye-ball was clearly swollen and could be seen as red and bulging from the eye socket which was also bleeding.
So, I have seen two of these unusual bungee incidents within the last four years; both patients sustained very nasty injuries. While they hardly constitute a trend, I think that if I ever have to use one of the things myself I shall don protective eye-wear first!