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Impaled on fence

On a stunning early spring day recently, I was called by the police to a quiet street where a young man had been injured. The details were given as ’19 year old male, hurt himself on a fence.’

I was only a couple of minutes away in my car so I got there quickly and found the group waiting at the side of the road. My patient was sitting on the kerb, hand-cuffed. Apparently he had been in his car when he was stopped by the police for a minor traffic offence.

Few sensible people would try to out-run police dogs; however after he was stopped he unwisely decided to make a bolt for it. He ran towards nearby houses, clambered over some low walls then launched himself on to the fence of some neighbouring allotments. Unfortunately he became impaled by one of the metal posts which entered through the left side of his upper chest. His predicament deteriorated further when the police dogs caught up with him and began nibbling at his legs (in that way only an Alsatian can!). He waited helplessly until the police caught up and rescued him from the clutches of their jaws. Unfortunately they pulled him back from the fence before realising that he had been impaled.

When I arrived, although he was conscious and breathing, he was starting to look quite pale. His pulse and respiratory rate had sped up (not just from the adrenaline!) and he was also quite predictably in a lot of pain from the deep wound on his chest.

Thankfully, I saw the ambulance heading towards us from the end of the road shortly after I had arrived. Time is of the essence in these types of calls as things can change very quickly so I was pleased to see them! Our priorities were to almost simultaneously perform all of his physical observations, listen to his chest sounds, give him oxygen, put a three sided dressing over the wound and put in a cannula (a needle into a vein in his arm) as a route for painkillers and any fluids he may need. The crew promptly took him off to the nearest ‘Trauma Centre’ after making them aware of the approximate time of arrival so they would have some time to prepare, leaving me at the road side to finish off my paperwork.

I have heard since that he is doing well and will recover from his injuries.

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