Browsing articles in medical fields can make it easy to forget about the human behind it. Luckily, WOUNDS, official journal of the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care (AAWC), decided to greenlight an editorial thinkpiece in the June 2018 edition that showcases humanity at it’s finest. Thanks to WOUNDS journal for contributing all spectrum of content, including stuff that can make you laugh. Take a look at the editorial by Terry Treadwell below.
I have been asked many times, “What keeps you going to the wound center to treat patients after 20+ years?” I usually talk about continuing to enjoy seeing and helping patients. But the real reasons are I love meeting the patients and hearing the stories behind their wounds. Some make you laugh, some make you cry, and some make you scratch your head. For example, a woman came into the wound center with bad wounds of the foot and lower leg. When I asked what happened, she suddenly became very quiet. Finally, the husband spoke up and admitted that he and his wife had been playing golf and she was getting a club from her bag in the back of the golf cart when, for some reason, he backed the cart up, running over her foot. He heard her cry out, so he put the cart in the forward gear, pulled up, and promptly ran over her leg! The story was the best part of the visit. I do not know what happened when the couple left the wound center, but I can tell you they both returned for the follow-up visit.
We also have seen lacerations from people stumbling into cardboard boxes. One patient dropped a regular paperback book, which hit her lower leg just at the right angle to cut a 10-cm skin flap over the anterior tibial area. One of the better patient stories came from a lady who tried to treat a poison ivy rash on her leg with dry ice. This resulted in a third-degree burn of her leg! I was interested in what precipitated that treatment. The answer, “Somebody told me it should work!”
One of my most exciting cases involved an abduction of a patient from another hospital. A patient who we were treating for a diabetic foot ulcer with osteomyelitis of a toe had been admitted to another hospital to be started on dialysis before we could resolve his problem. While in the other hospital, he was seen by a surgeon who wanted to perform a below-the-knee amputation. The patient did not want that, but the physicians were insistent that it be done before he start dialysis. He called me to ask what I thought. The only thing the patient truly needed was a toe amputation. Unfortunately, I could not see the patient at that hospital. A couple of days later, on a Saturday morning, the patient called and asked if I could meet him at our wound center and remove his toe. I said I could but asked how he was getting out of the hospital. He just said, “Don’t ask.” I was intrigued to say the least. At the appointed time, he arrived at the wound center by car, we removed the problem toe, and he told me he would see me next week. I had to know what happened! He had found that patients in the hospital who were smokers were allowed to go to the patio to smoke. At the appointed time, he went outside the building to the patio; his brother picked him up and brought him to see me. He went straight back before he was missed. His physicians at the other hospital never did figure out who removed his toe! By the way, he was a nonsmoker.
You see, I love going to the wound center. The entertainment is never ending if you just look for it! Oh, and we get to help patients as well. You can’t make this stuff up!