Sunday, October 12, 2008

foolishness

Dr X called me into his office to discuss the case of my new patient. It was an elderly man with a broken arm. The break was near the shoulder and his range of motion was severely limited. Dr X said to me, 'I want you to try to get his range of motion as normal as possible'. We arranged our schedule of treatments, for some reason it was suggested he come back three times a week.

The patient was a Danish immigrant, he was a dishwasher and he was an alcoholic. I felt that if I could get his range of movement to the point where he could comfortably wash dishes and comfortably raise his glass, that would be a success for both of us. He was a good patient and worked hard, and it did not take long for him to meet my expectations. It was difficult to come to the County Hospital which was located a distance outside the city of San Mateo and he was bothered by the cost of the bus trip. And so we took our case to Dr X.

He said 'Let me see what you have accomplished.'

This is not enough for him. I will take him into surgery and manipulate the shoulder while he is under the anesthesia. I said 'May I observe' He said 'of course' Two days later the three of us and a couple of nurses were in surgery. Everyone was waiting for the patient to go under. Dr X took hold of the upper arm with one hand and held the other on the shoulder and began moving the arm in small circles. When the circles grew, the force of the hands of the doctor grew also. Suddenly there was a loud report. It sounded like a gun shot. X rays were taken of the arm, and instead of a healing break, there now was a proper fracture, with a slight separation. The poor patient had a long wait before he could either wash dishes or go to his favorite bar for a beer.

5 comments:

Jennifer said...

Oh my goodness!

Bonnie's blog said...

Huh doctors eh? One day they are saving your life the next breaking your arm - you never know WHERE you are with 'em!

Kat said...

AAgh, gross! What an ignorant doctor!

Martha Alderson said...

Yikes! what a mess....

scargosun said...

That's terrible! There is a reason we feel pain and the doc forgot that.