One day recently I was working a shift in an Urgent Care Centre. As I called in my next patient, up stepped a very pale young man, his injured finger was supported in a high arm sling. As we moved towards the consulting room he began telling me about his accident at work and how the first-aider had commented that his injury was so severe he may even need stitches. He did indeed look very pale and said he also felt nauseous, so with these two signs in mind, and knowing the propensity of men to faint during treatments (sorry guys but it is usually the men!), I felt it best to let him lay down on the couch before I examined him.
The young man had accidentally sustained the finger injury on the sharp edge of some machinery at work. We chatted as I prepared all the materials that I would potentially need to manage a severe injury to the finger, including extra gauze for the torrential bleeding. He described how the wound had been gaping, with blood literally pouring from it, and he had a huge dressing in place which had been applied by the first-aider. I began to carefully take the dressing off. As I did this he went a few shades lighter as he became more and more anxious; at this point I was glad that I had laid him down! I even started wondering if I was going to be faced with a partial amputation of the finger, given that he had made it sound so serious.
As I peeled back the final layer I was almost disappointed to find nothing more than an injury that more closely resembled a very minor paper-cut! I tried to pull the edges apart to see how deep it was but it was very superficial and couldn’t be pulled apart at all. To further add insult to his injury – it wasn’t even bleeding now either.
I encouraged him to be brave and have a peek at it himself and he seemed quite surprised; he said that it had seemed much worse at the time and he appeared very embarrassed!
I have to be honest with you at this point and admit that I laughed at little at him for getting so upset about a little paper cut; luckily he saw the funny side!
When I finally stopped laughing I popped a small plaster on his war wound; and because I am nothing if not kind we came to an agreement that I would put a big bandage over the top of the plaster for him so he could save face in front of his colleagues when he returned to work. I suggested the ‘first-aider’ may require a refresher course too!
Well at least he didn’t call an ambulance!
Had any similar encounters? Be sure to leave a comment.