Monday, April 6, 2015

How To Tell This Isn't Going To Be A Good Shift, #2,317

Open wound + flies = party!

So you know things aren't going to be fun on your shift:

A) When the radio call report is "infected leg, with maggots".
B) When said patient arrives with the leg involved wrapped in a plastic trash bag from toes to thigh.
C) When the paramedics are taking hits off their SCBA breathers.
D) When the patient is assigned to your zone.
E) When, as part of the meet-and-greet, you have to remove the bag to visualize the situation.
F) When the funk miasma coming off the leg would knock a buzzard off a pile of guts, and you haven't even gotten the socks and pants off yet.
G) When you finally get to the base layer, and are greeted by a menagerie of several tens of thousands of little brown rice grains, all doing the entomological version of "The Wave", in a pile an inch thick. Bless their hungry little hearts.
H) All of the above.

Back off, everyone, this one is all mine! Sigh.

I would like to sound heroic, but in fact I contented myself with doing the usual business-as-usual primary assessment and trying not to flinch or start itching all over.
The arrival time being a-quarter-to-day-shift (what else?), my uninvolved co-workers' foolish curiosity overcame any native common sense or desire for self preservation, and while I happily avoided any little friends when patient decided to command spasm the leg (Dude, seriously?!), they busily applied sterile saline and suction, and vacuumed up upwards of 10,000 of the little nibblers, after doing a photo-documented wound assessment at my behest. Some things require photographic proof for posterity. 

They are my heroes for stepping up to the plate.

The maggots probably saved the patient from gangrene. Pity.

And day shift received their patient all buffed and fluffed, and ready for the metric shit-tons of sepsis-thwarting antibiotics necessary. And by the time they got there, the patient was the only living thing in that bed.

But I don't think any of us there in the room will be eating any fried rice for awhile.

Wracking my brain here, but I'm pretty sure they never mentioned the true technicolor glamour of this job in nursing school.
But I spared you any of the illustrative internet pictures at the header.

You're welcome.


  1. Good God, I can smell it all the way over here!

  2. GAH. The horrors.

    In all honesty thought, I'd probably be one of your coworkers without self-preservation and jump in to help on this one. Mostly because curiosity. But also, holy shit that's gross and I want to be a part of the "you'll never believe it" stories afterwards.

  3. Been there, done that. It was a massive cancer on the face and they were crawling up the wall before sanitization was complete.......

  4. BTW. Job security...