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15 August 2009

Hot in the City

We've had a lot of shootings over the last several days. I have been working the night shift, so it's always very difficult to post because I am often too tired in the morning when I get home, and then I am usually in a rush out the door when I head off for the next shift. I do manage to sneak in a quick post from time to time.

Anyway, onto the shootings. I worked the overnight shift at the county hospital on Tuesday night, and we had three unrelated shootings, plus a couple of stabbings, plus the token rollover... and a whole lot of drunks. I was in the middle of dealing with several different patients that I received on sign-out (some things are never what they seem) when a patient comes running in the door saying "I got shot in the face, don't let me die."

I took a look and saw the wound on his face. A larger caliber round and his face would have been an empty hole. A couple of inches further back, and I wouldn't been seeing this patient as they would have been either an organ donor or in the morgue. He was the lucky one that night. The bullet scratched just under his eye and ended up stopping and breaking his nose. Oh yeah, the bullet fragments are still there. He's going to need to have those removed at some point. That night, though, just some fancy stitching by the facial trauma resident and a referral to specialty clinic to fix his nose.

While I was finishing getting him settled I was told by the charge nurse that another shooting victim was coming in. This time, multiple wounds in the extremities and torso. We got the trauma team notified and I waited in the room as they were brought in. He lost his pulse as he was brought in the door. There was no saving him. I had to tell his family members. I worried about retaliatory shootings.

I kept working the shift. In the early morning hours we got another victim. This one had multiple bullet holes and a fracture in an arm and a leg. Not to mention the bullets that went into their abdomen. They went to the O.R. They survived.

Thursday night I went back to work at the General, and there was a large security presence in the area in front of the E.D. Now, at the county when there's a shooting, we get a strong police presence, so it's no big deal to see the ambulance ramp shut down to traffic. Just not used to seeing it at the General. But, that evening there had been a shooting that resulted in a death of a member of the community. Their family along with many neighbors were all there and had just gotten news of the death when I pulled up trying to get in for my shift.

I made my way through the crying, screaming people holding onto one another and demanding to be let into the E.D. to be with their loved one. Security let me through as several people tried to push their way through. They were held back.

Today I worked a day shift. I had a GSW (gun shot wound) to the legs in the morning, and a GSW to the abdomen in the evening. Kinda like book ends. Both were in the process of an attempted robbery. Both were taken to surgery. Both will most likely survive.

Some say people are going a little crazy from the heat. The heat wave is supposed to continue through the weekend. I wonder what tomorrow's going to bring...


a corgi said...

(((Veronica))) lots to deal with; I know you just "patch them up" but you still carry their stories and their faces in your heart

sorry its been a rough time there too; can only hope it cools down soon!


Julie said...

Fortunately we don't get many shootings, stabbing seems to be the most common way loved ones act out. Hope your night gets better.