On one unusually quiet Sunday afternoon, as a newly trained staff nurse, I, along with a group of other nurses and docs were sitting, chatting away about nothing in particular. As time went on, I heard a distraught voice call out for help. At that time, it seemed that all my colleagues had disappeared on tea, smoke, or toilet breaks, so I was all alone.
I rushed to the open door to find a mother walking alongside her child, who appeared to have one end of a red oil can sticking in his neck/throat, while the other end was sticking out of his head. While I ushered them on deeper into the hospital lobby, the mother began explaining that the child had been running with the can in his hand, when he fell – the spout went in one end of his neck and straight through his head and out onto his skull.
I shouted to the mother to stand still with her child, while I rushed to fetch a wheelchair, then sat the mother down in it, with her child on her lap. The little one was fully conscious and whimpering, but amazingly, appeared not to be in too much pain.
Within what seemed like moments, the casualty department filled with consultant pediatricians, anesthetists, doctors, nurses, Uncle Tom Colby, and all.
The child went speedily into theatre (surgery), had the item removed, and was put on strong antibiotics.
At the end of that shift, I went home and poured myself a large brandy.
Later, I heard from a colleague who worked on the kids’ ward of the hospital, that every major blood vessel had been missed during the child’s fall, except for one small vessel that had been damaged. His hospital stay lasted only about 4 days.
Someone was really looking down on that family, that day.