Sucker Punched and Head Laceration Who Can HelpMay 27, 2020
I just stepped out of the administrative building at school and hear a big commotion. Look over and see an elderly male on the ground bleeding profusely from the mouth and nose and blood is pooling on the ground and all over his clothes.
People are making a scene and not sure what to do.
I drop my items approach and state we need to hold his head up and don't let him move. That's when I notice a huge laceration in the back of his head and he is bleeding out a lot.
I ask someone for gloves (HIV...biological fluids concerns). No one has anything. And direct someone to flag a police offer at the corner. And then ask for towels or napkins or anything because I'm going to have to apply pressure to his wound.
Someone hands me a bunch of napkins and I apply pressure to the wound and trying to keep the man still as he is being combative and wants to stand up. I tell him I'm a medical student and I need you to remain calm and try not to move too much.
From the crowd I learn the guy was "sucker punched" and fell to the ground and hit the back of his head.
I ask for more napkins or anything to compress the wound and luckily someone has a roll of gauze which I gladly take. As I'm applying pressure to the wound my fear comes true...have blood on my hands but I'm in this and nothing to do now.
Another bystander is saying that 9-1-1 operator is saying to apply pressure to the wound and I state have pressure and he has severe laceration.
Finally, the police roll up and I mention I'm a medical student and give a quick rundown of things. All the while the crowd is telling the police he was hit by some random guy.
EMS arrives and takes control of the guy and I hand off applying pressure to the wound to the EMS and explain I'm a medical student and this is what just occurred.
Once the guy is stable I approach the second ambulance crew that arrived and ask for hand sanitizer explaining I have blood on my hands. Get sanitizer do a thorough cleaning.
Walk back over to the original scene, grab my items and I'm gone.
Perhaps, I'll have to consider Emergency Medicine or Trauma Surgery.
I will tell you when I first walked out the building I honestly didn't know if I wanted to get involved but then when I saw the amount of blood already on the ground and no one was applying pressure to the wound I immediately got to action and took control of the situation.
Now this thought process was not one of minutes rather it was a split second decision.
My biggest concern for myself was having blood on my body. This is 2015 and on the streets of New York City so you never know what you will encounter or what a patient may have. Therefore, I was gravely concerned about being exposed to something.
Luckily, I only had a little bit of blood on my hypothenar eminence (palm surface of pinky finger...there's some medical anatomy for you) and wrist. I washed thoroughly and then checked my hands and wrists for any cuts or abrasions that would have increased my risk of exposure and luckily had no broken skin.
Consequently, I have a doctor's appointent next week and was informed I probably want to get tested for HIV and any STDs due to my exposure...I'm confident no blood entered my body and hopefully the lab work will confirm this.
I posted this story on Facebook and one of my friends from a different medical school gave me very sound advice about what to do if this situation would occur again.
She said put a spare pair of gloves in your wallet.
Additionally, HIV/AIDS is for life so when you encounter someone with lots of bleeding and no precautionary equipment use your shirt as a barrier to prevent unwanted contact with bodily fluids. I certainly made a mental note and will do that next time an incident occurs.
Apparently, I'm prone to medical emergencies. Here's a rundown of what I have encountered while a medical student in two years:
- Man hit by car and died at scene
- Passenger ran over and trapped under city bus
- Bicyclist hit by car
- Man having seizure on the street
And there are a few others that are escaping me at the moment. But I ran into one of my professors when I got back to school and conveyed to him what happened. I did a fist bump with the doctor and he was like great job, see that training is paying off...have to recount about two weeks ago I had ACLS training with him.
Additionally, he stated I will known as the "Black Cloud" when in the hospital since all these crazy things happen to me. Basically, I bring the worst things and the hospital staff will have a love/hate relationship with me. They'll definitely see a lot of interesting cases that will be great for learning, but at the same time no easy cases when I'm present.
My classmates are now trying to come up with a superhero moniker for me and it was been really interesting to see what they've come up with because some of my friends have been very creative. In the theme of Superman and having the surname of Spears I decided to jump into the superhero fray and say, "Have no fear, Dr. Spears is here!"
Just some humor.
But on a serious note you never know when you'll be expected to step up to the plate and render aid. I want to point out there was a reason I identified myself as a medical student. It was so the emergency responders would know who they are dealing with and you always want to do this when out in the field.
Also, it helps calm those on the scene such as the crowd and the patient because they know they are in good hands. As my professors say in medical school, "for all intents and purposes when you are in the hospital, even as a student to the patients you are a doctor so you must carry yourself as such."
Okay, there you have it a line by line recounting of what took place in my world today.
These incidents have an unusual propensity to occur in Manhattan. In a park, two or three blocks below St. Luke's hospital on Amsterdam Ave., I encountered a man writhing in pain on the ground but otherwise unable to communicate. I called 911 and waited, and waited and waited. When no one arrived i walked to the police station on 100th Street (I think) between Amsterdam and Columbus and reported the ongoing incident, and they took over and got 911 into action. Your recounting of your involvement was excellent and struck home. Great person who will i am sure continue on to be a great physician. be well.
Thanks for your comments they are much appreciated.
I feel as a member of the medical community I have an obligation and duty to lend my expertise and assistance whenever I can.
Now I know some medical professionals would not get involved for a number of reasons but I know for me there really aren't second thoughts about what I would do.
But here's something you may find interesting.
A friend of mine who is in medicine said this about not having any gloves or protection, "HIV/AIDs is permanent if you don't have any protection you should have used your shirt as a barrier!"
The things you learn from more senior individuals in medicine.