I am going to use this article to force 1 of my friends to do an article on safety in the work environment for me. She knows herself (yes, you!), lol. This is one of those stories I’m sharing, just because I am mischievous. You should have noticed by now that I tend to see the lighter side of things.
I was thanking my Jehovah that my call was over, at about 7 or 8 am, that day. Who should drive in, but the manager of a popular fast food joint in that town. The patient she brought was stark naked, screaming in agony, covered with burns, and slimy stuff. He stood in front of the A & E, howling. I asked her what happened, while the nurses were trying to convince him to let them cover him up. He refused. As far as he was concerned, everyone could get an eye full. She told me he was frying some pastries in a big pan of hot oil, when for whatever reason, he fell head long into it! I don’t know till date, whose idea it was to pour eggs on him. They seemed to believe it would help, or they used the opportunity to fry the eggs, I don’t know. He was covered with burns and eggs. No part of him was spared, not even the scrotum (sorry for being so vivid, it’s the medical me).
I told her we needed to take off the burnt skin before dressing his burns. He had 1st degree burns, luckily. That means only his skin, and not the tissues underneath were affected. I can’t remember the percentage, but it was extensive. Face, chest, buttocks, arms, legs, you name it, had a burn. The young man refused to let us peel it off. He insisted we give him a pain reliever, and dress the burns. I told him they would form eschars. These are scars formed when burned skin is allowed to heal without being taken off. It’s unsightly and disfiguring. He would not budge, despite myassurance that in less than 1 month, he would have new skin.
That day, I did something drastic. I may not have the courage to do so, now I am older. I told him it was my way, or the high way. He could take himself to another hospital, where his orders would be obeyed. All this while, he was stomping, howling, appealing to his ancestors and what not. I held firm. We had given him a shot, but I knew it would take a while to kick in. That time was all we had to convince him as I knew if he felt better, he would ask to be taken away.
His manager, all the while averting her eyes from his nakedness, tried to reason with him.
“Let them do what they want to do. I’ll leave you here O! We’ve been to another hospital, and no doctor was on duty. Stop wasting time!”, she scolded.
“How will they take off my skin? Won’t I die? Won’t I look like an animal? What have I done to deserve this?”, he moaned.
“You have 5 minutes to decide, or I’ll go home. My call is over”, I threatened.
Finally, he agreed. Then began the long, harrowing process of gently taking off the burned skin, and dressing his wounds. This was after washing off the egg crusts. His pain threshold was also low. I have treated other burn cases but this one takes the cake. His crying discouraged the nurses from being the ones to attend to him, most often. I guess he was young, probably 19 to 21. He was on admission for 2 months. I never got any rest, for he reminded me daily that he was waiting for his new skin.
It came in 3 weeks, thank God! Slowly, at first, but he eventually thanked me for insisting. That case brought me many laurels. My MD was excited by the patient (corporate patients don’t owe like private patients). I increased my knowledge of burns management. Also, he became a testimony. Just before discharge, we had another, less serious burns case. When he put up a resistance, I simply took him to this guy’s room. It was he who convinced him to put his life in my 5ft5, 52kg hands, lol. I didn’t spend as much time appealing. In fact, he went ahead to shower praises on me, when it was the nurses who did the most work.
I’ll leave you to decide what to take away. Sometimes you need to stand your ground. You have to be willing to lose your life, to keep it, says the bible. I hope we ensure safety standards are met where we spend most of our day. If you spend 8 to 9 hours at work, it should be as safe as your home. Should you sustain a burn, please use only clean water (room temperature), to cool the site. Cover loosely with the cleanest material you can find and rush to the hospital. I pray we remain safe, we don’t want you screaming “I’m on fire!, now, do we?”. Cheers