A young adult man came in as a trauma alert. He was very drunk and obviously injured. The alcohol-induced lack of cooperation made his trauma evaluation difficult and complicated. He had to be sedated to keep him from harming the staff while we removed his bloodied clothing and performed tests to rule out serious injury. Eventually, all of his x-rays and scans came back normal and he was left to sleep off both his alcohol and the sedatives he was given.
Some time later, I heard a commotion and went to see what was going on. As I rounded the corner into the hallway adjacent to his room, I saw the patient, naked except for the protective collar he still had around his neck, standing in the hall. His IV tubing was trailing behind him into the room and he was hollering curses at everyone who was trying to get him to go back into the room and onto the gurney.
Immediately in front of him, sitting on a gurney in the hallway, was a young family: Mom, Dad and a seven-year-old daughter. When the drunk, crazy, naked guy came out of the room into the hall, he was standing right in front of them, hollering with dried blood on his face, arms and chest. The poor family looked like they were watching a horror film, frozen with eyes and mouths agape. The parents were so stunned they didn’t even think to protect the little girl from this amazing site.
A pair of Sherriff’s deputies happened to be guarding a prisoner nearby and quickly took the patient back into the room. They pinned him, face down, on the gurney and handcuffed his hands behind his back until hospital security arrived and got him into leather restraints.
I later learned the patient had awoken and asked the nurse where his Chihuahua dog was. When the nurse told him he came in with no dog, the patient blew up, tried to strike the nurse and cried that his dog was the only thing he had in the world. He then got up and headed off to find the dog. That is how he ended up naked and screaming in the hallway.
A few hours later, he was ready for reevaluation. I took off his collar, rechecked his neck and sent him off to look for his dog, sober and dejected.
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