A Loaded Basketball
A 23-year-old non-English-speaking Vietnamese man came in with a scalp injury. Through an interpreter, he said he was playing basketball earlier that evening when he ran, head-on, into the basketball standard. He careened off and ran into a nearby fence, which he also hit with his head before landing on the ground.
His friends took him home, shaved the area around the cut and made a compress of tobacco, which they placed in and around the wound. They then decided he should get it checked out and brought him to the emergency department.
When his laceration was numbed and explored, a piece of metal was felt in the wound. X-rays and a CT scan showed a bullet embedded in his skull. He also had underlying brain damage. I called a neurosurgeon to take him to the operating room to repair of his injury.
When confronted with evidence that he had actually been shot, he stuck firmly to his basketball story. I noted that he didn’t exactly fit the profile of a basketball player. He was just over five feet tall and was wearing flip-flops.
Could he have been shot while playing basketball and not realize it? More likely, he was involved in some sort of shady activity that resulted in his being shot and just didn’t want anyone to know about it.