A young man came in as a trauma patient after having been stabbed multiple times. At first glance, the worst injury was a large slash across the front of his chest. However, it only involved the skin and didn’t penetrate into the chest. So, it was really just “a mere flesh wound.”
A small laceration on his face was much more worrisome. The cut was on his cheek just below his left eye. His eye was bulging forward, what we call proptosis. Though he could see well, he was unable to move the eye normally.
Further evaluation of his facial injury showed the knife had penetrated his check and broken through the bone just blow the eye. It passed through the orbit, which is the space in the skull the eyeball sits in. Then, the knife entered into his brain. The proptosis was caused by bleeding in the orbit, filling the space between the skull and the eye with a blood clot. The eye and nerves which allow for vision had been missed by the knife, so his vision was unaffected.
His chest wound was cleaned and stitched in the emergency department. He was then admitted to the hospital for further evaluation and care by the ophthalmologist and neurosurgeon.
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