About four o’clock in the morning, we got a ring down for a multiple victim pediatric trauma. That is a strange time of night for kids to be out and about so our curiosities were pricked, wondering what the story would be.
As it turned out, the kids in the car had been visiting their father for the holidays. Mom had picked them up and was driving them home when they were in a nasty single-car crash on the freeway. The paramedics brought all four of them to us: the mother and her three kids.
My first patient was the big brother, age ten. He had been seated in the front seat next to his mother. It was immediately obvious that had a broken femur (thigh bone.) An x-ray confirmed the fracture but we had to do a lot of other studies to make sure he had no other serious injuries. He was very cool and brave given the pain he was in and the excitement of being in a car that rolled over on the freeway.
My next patient was the eight-year-old sister who was pretty banged up and also needed studies to make sure she had no serious injuries. After testing, she got admitted to the hospital for observation though nothing life threatening turned up on the testing. She also was very brave.
The three-year-old brother was hardly injured because he had been in a car seat. He was released to relatives. Their drunken mother also had no serious injuries and was released to Highway Patrol to go to jail for drunken driving.
Anyone who gets arrested for drunk driving has good reason to be bummed out. Besides those feelings, can you imagine how that mother felt knowing that her decision to drink and drive had resulted in her children being injured? No wonder she was crying as they led her off in hand cuffs.
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