Friday the 13th – unlucky for some
One of the jobs I got assigned to, in the early hours of Friday morning (the 13th), was to a person who’d fallen from a window. The usual thoughts went through my mind; were they drunk, did they jump or even more sinister, were they pushed? I turned up at the address to find that the crew had beaten me to it. They were round the back of the property, trying to deal with the patient, who was lying on the ground, all by torchlight; no outside lights or downstairs windows to help. The primary survey (airway, breathing, circulation) proved to be fine so we collared the patient and loaded him onto the longboard. It was the usual fun and games trying to drag the trolley across the grass and negotiate the footpath. Once inside the ambulance it was all hands to deck. The paramedic started on a secondary survey, I set about getting all the obs (BP, pulse, ECG, O2 sats, etc.) while our other colleague found some gauze swabs and started cleaning up the young man’s face which was absolutely covered in blood.
While I was checking his airway again he opened his mouth to say something and I noticed that a number of his top teeth were missing. I turned to the lady who was with him. “Does he have all his own teeth?” “Yes he does.” – Oh boy, well he doesn’t now! Having made sure the others were ok I grabbed a torch and headed round the back of the house again with the women in tow. “I think he may have knocked some of his teeth out” I told her. We found our way back under the first floor window and started having a hunt around. While we were searching she gave me some more history of the young man’s background.
Seems he is her nephew and he’d come over to stay. He was a known sleep walker and to ensure that he didn’t hurt himself on his nocturnal ramblings (how ironic), he normally put a chair up against the inside of his bedroom door so that he’d make a bit of a racket trying to get out and alert other members of the household. (I can see fire service personnel having an M.I. over this type of thing). The lady had left her bedroom door open so she would hear him if he tried to go walk-about. Trouble was, being in an unfamiliar house, he had tried the window instead of the door. By all appearances he had then taken a nose dive onto the garden. Goodness knows how long he’d lain there, it was only the barking of the family dog that had woken the lady up and she had eventually found him.
So, what about the missing teeth? Well, that was the clue that he’d gone head first out the window. The garden was mostly grass except for the spot under the window; that had a manhole cover set in it; and it was onto this that he’d landed. It didn’t take us long to find 4 missing teeth, all wrenched out in their entirety. I’ve no idea whether the max-fax boys and girls will be able to do anything with them but I put them in a bag – just in case.
Back on the vehicle everyone was set to go. We “alerted the job in” (phoned A&E so that they’d have a trauma team standing by) and headed off to the hospital which, thankfully, was only a few miles away. We left the young man in care of the team. His face was certainly a mess; broken nose, missing teeth, various lacerations all around. He also seemed to have a fractured femur and possibly a pelvic fracture, though we left before the x-ray results were back.
You certainly have to feel sorry for the guy, if he’d landed on grass he may well have escaped with only cuts and bruises but he’d had the bad luck to have a manhole cover under the window – anything to do with it being Friday the 13th?