Saturday, July 23, 2005

The trouble with you Australian women...


More on the title later.

Just finished a most depressing shift in the prisons and am desperate to think about anything else. The fat kid is getting fatter, the girl who had turned some kind of corner got busted byt the police for walking along the street (she was on home D) and is back in prison, and although the psychopath in unit C is feeling less violent (sample quote: "That stuff's working great - I only hit one guy with a chair in teh whole week... but I would have done that anyway"), I am feeling iffy about the whole thing.

And apparently some of the patients escaped last Thursday - I open the paper and there's some lurid tale involving stealing an ambulance or something and driving through a fence, and eventually being picked up hiding in a roof. Well, that's at least one fewer patient I will be seeing on Wednesdays: one of them was eighteen and will be going to the adult prisons.

And last Saturday in the ED we were all staying behind for a resus, a bearded and tattooed man who had been brought in unconscious after taking an unknown quantity of unknown drugs, but which looked to include a months worth of antidepressants. Unfortunately (presumably) these were the old school antidepressants, the tricyclics. They are frequently lethal in overdose. I don't know how he was going to go, but it wasn't looking good.

Anyway, halfway through, when I was running a blood test one of the nurses came up to me and said "Look, can you just pop your head in and see the coppers* in cub 17 before you go - they want a medical clearance on a prisoner and then they're out of here." This is common practice - I think most ED doctors and nurses tend to try to bump ambos and police up the queue, the idea being we'd rather have them out there doing something useful than sitting in our ED for hours. So about fifteen minutes later, as the overdosed man is being wheeled out to either live or die, I pop into cubicle 17 to clear the patient.

And it's not any patient, it's Abraham Coper.

Abraham Coper is about seventeen, and he'd been released a month ago from Mauro. He was memorable for being one of the biggest hypochondriacs I've ever met. My diagnostic skills imporved tenfold after only a few weeks of seeing him, I was able to tell if someone had a heart attack ("No, you didn't have a heart attack this morning. Now get back to the football - aren't you menat to be on the wing?"), a blood clot in the lung ("No, it's the same virus everyone else in here has"), a stroke ("Your two days of paralysis of the left side of your body seemed okay during the pool tournament") and bone cancer ("No, it's a bump on your elbow. Because you bumped something with your elbow.").

Anyway, things got worse for Abraham when it turned out that he did have a problem. His brother (fit, young, athletic, five to eight in the adult system for a crime involving a bulldozer) had had a collapse while playing football and had required CPR. He was rushed to hospital and discovered to have a rare genetic condition called long QT syndrome. All the familyt were called in for tests and Abraham had it too.

What long QT meant (and this was only at the initial stages of the workup, there are different subtypes) is that whenever the heart goes too fast, it can bump into a weird rhythm that is really fast but not really useful - basically, your heart goes too fast, you could collapse and possibly die.

So we'd had to sit down and tell Mauro's biggest hypochondraic that he mustn't worry, because he could die. Or get angry, or frightened, because he might die. Or do much of anything. He should never ever ever take amphetamines, because they would kill him. Sport, exertion, etc., that was right out. Maybe he should just lie around. Then again, there was that subtype of long QT that killed you in your sleep, wasn't there?

Anyway, a few days later he was released (and like everyone who gets out of Mauro, never ever went back to the doctors - so he hsn't had any tests to work out what type of long QT he has or what can be done about it).

And here he was in the ED, in the company of two police officers who had pursued him from the stolen car across a football oval and into a suburban carpark. And it was them who brought Abraham to the ED and insisted that he tell one of us about the two or three occasions when he lost consciousness in the back of the police car for a few seconds. He wasnt' going to mention it.
They didn't know about the long QT syndrome, of course.

Anyway, he didn't go back to the cells. I feel soon he will be back at Mauro, but first I have to check on the results of any tests, etc they ran and see exactly what is wrong with him.

Anyway, work to do. See you all soon. And thanks again.


*that's the police, by the way.


Blogger Foilwoman said...

So what is the trouble with Australian women? Let me guess . . . . Could it be Australian men? No, in general they are pretty cute. Excessive Foster's consumption? Russell Crowe? Nicole Kidman? No, I've got it . . . It's the Wiggles!

1:17 PM  
Blogger Benedict 16th said...

Sorry John, about letting the cats out of the bag to Foilwoman!

As for cute Australians, think George W. but even more conservative and pragmatic, shorter, balder, speech impediment, without the handsomeness, tact, charm and honesty of George W. That's John Howard, Prime Minister

10:32 PM  

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