I was on duty as a first responder tonight. It was busy, especially with the Olympics in town. Started off pretty quiet, then it got busier as it got later into the night. I watched a fight break out with two large men going at each other, kicking and punching and friends trying to hold them off. There were over ten police officers around the intersection, but they were watching the other side of the street. I thought the fight will break off on its own, and watched for another 2 seconds. The fight kept on going as shouts escalated. I went up to a group of police nearby and alerted them to the fight. As five police officers walked over, the men started breaking off, walking quickly down the street. However, a women insisted on beating up a man, and clawed at his back with her hands, chasing after him. It was an interesting sight. The woman looked like a monkey trying to climb up a tree. With the police there, the incident settled down pretty quickly. No broken noses for me to deal with.
Twenty minutes before the end of our shift, my partner and I were observing the golf-cart-like ambulances used during the Olympics when a police officer brought over a crying child and his parents. She said he fell on his head and wanted me to take a look. I asked exactly what had happened. The parents said they didn’t know because they were watching their other child. Only the police officer saw what had happened but she disappeared into the crowd.
I looked at the child with beads of tears streaming down his face. I asked if his head hurts. He said no. I palpated his head and asked him again. Again he said no. While my partner was getting information from his parents I checked his pulse which was 80 regular and strong, breathing was fine. He looked alright.
His mother was cuddling him to her and rubbing his head and noticed a big bump on the side of his head. I didn’t feel it at first because instead of rubbing his head in a circular motion, I padded his head. I checked his head again, and sure enough there was a large lump on his head. It was a fairly prominent swelling, pushing back his hair, you can see slight bruising as well. I popped an ice pack and had his mom ice his head while I checked if he had any neck pain. I told him it was very important for him to tell me the truth. He replied with a soft okay. I found no other injuries.
The cop who led the child to me showed up again. I asked her what happened since she witnessed the incident. She said the child was playing slipped, his legs went up and fell on his head. It didn’t sound pleasant, sounded like a hard hit, and the quick swelling surely indicated this. The child seemed fine though, and stopped crying, parents wanted to get going so I let them go on their way after telling them they should probably see a doctor just in case.
There were a couple of things I learned from this. One, just because a child says his head doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean it’s not hurting. I think he was scared to admit that his head hurts because he thought he’d get in trouble. So regardless of what the child says, a thorough examination of the injured site should be taken…I wasn’t careful enough with this. Thankfully the mother was rubbing her son’s head. Secondly, I know this is obvious, but take off your gloves (I had on cotton gloves since it was cold) before palpating, that probably would have helped me feel that lump that I missed on the first try.
Maybe I’m second guessing myself…but I wonder if I should have taken that head injury more seriously. After all, from the police’s description, it sounded like he hit the pavement pretty hard, also the immediate swelling and the size of the swelling and bruising might indicate something more serious. However the child seemed fine, his vitals are fine, and parents obviously don’t want any further care. Maybe I’m just over thinking, I felt like I approached the situation fine at the time….but now that I think back, it kind of bothers me. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t feel the lump on the first try, or if I got thrown off by the child’s response of feeling no pain or what.
On the bright side, a couple of minutes before my shift ended, an Irish man comes over and asks if the people on the street are giving out hot chocolate. I told him yes, and that it’s free. His face was quite red, and he was obviously drunk. He goes up to the kind man who was giving out hot chocolate and asks for one, but was for some reason afraid because he thinks the man would “explode” since he was fairly large. I convinced him that it’s safe. So the Irish man stood four meters back, gawking at the man as he pouring him a cup of hot chocolate. Then when the Irish man goes to get the cup of hot chocolate, he wraps his arms around the man’s neck in a choke hold and gives the poor man three kisses on the cheek. The man giving out the hot chocolate was not pleased at all, he looked horrified but could do nothing to defend himself since he had the hot chocolate nozzle dispenser in one hand and the cups in his other hand. The Irish man looked very pleased with himself as he beamed from ear to ear. I wonder if he knew he just kissed a random man on the street. That definitely cracked me up, it was a good way to end the shift.