Break a Leg

“DMA 123, you are being dispatched to a 24 year old male with a leg injury at Nicehotel”

The radio came alive. It was 2am on a weekend night. My crew mate (an experienced ECA) and I were just tucking into some chips. We looked at each other, put the food down and drove towards the job.

The hotel we were headed to was one that neither of us had been too before – which usually was a good thing.

As we pulled up outside the lobby we noticed a lot of people hanging around outside in little groups. All were dressed up; jackets, heels and dress clothes. A bell boy waited for us. As we pulled up he stood outside – a human windmill waving us down.

“This looks posh” My crewmate muttered as we got out of the cab and grabbed all of the kit we would need – response bags, monitors, oxygen and the tablet computer that our paperwork was completed on.

The bell-boy asked us to follow him – we walked into the grand hotel lobby. As we walked people stopped and turned – looking to see what was going on. We headed towards the ball room – and on the way I asked what had happened.

“I’m not sure, there is a wedding on tonight and I think one of the guests has hurt his leg” answered the bell boy. We went into a grand looking ball room – lights on bright, disco tidying away and tables littered with alcohol and fancy looking centrepieces all around.

We headed to what was the dance floor – where I quickly noted the bride was sitting on the floor – with a man leaning on her lap. Her dress making a great place for him to rest his head. He looked to be in considerable pain. As we got closer, I could see why.

Where his foot should have been facing straight, it was off at an ankle with a deformity just below his knee – it looked a bit like a banana. No X-ray needed to diagnose this fracture. We placed our kit down next to the gentleman and asked what had happened.

“They told me to break a leg – so I did” answered the man. Voice trembling, his attempt at humour masked behind the obvious pain he was in. The bride answered:

“This is my new husband. He was showing off on the dancefloor when he got his leg caught in my dress – he fell over and we heard the crack over the music. The worst part is – I think he has ripped my dress!” She half shouted.

I quickly explained the plan to the patient – I would quickly assess his vitals – and check for any other injuries and then we would sort out his pain relief. My ECA was tasked with getting the Entonox (Gas and Air) a vacuum splint and the stretcher. I roped in the bar staff to assist with this too.

While they were gone I did my assessment – found that the patient had no other injuries and that his foot had good circulation to it. I explained that I needed to put a cannula in – a plastic tube into the vein in order to give him some good pain relief.

Where the patient was leaning on his new bride; the top half of his body was against her dress. Sometimes – putting a cannula in can be messy. There can be a little bit of bleeding. I was aware that this dress was already ripped. However, thought that the bride would not appreciate the blood that could potentially end up on her dress.

During my assessment I had already cut the grooms trousers after a bit of an argument as they had been hired – and there was quite a big deposit on the suits (In the end I cut up the seams and the new mother in law was going to try and sew it all back together).

I managed to get the cannula in with no mess – thankfully. By this point the ECA had come back with the equipment and the groom was taking deep inhalations of the gas and air. He found it worked very well, a bit too well as he told everyone who was listening how much he loved his new family and started serenading his bride.

We splinted his leg and got him on the trolley – as we walked towards the lobby the bell-boy from earlier told us that the wedding party had formed a guard of honour and that the photographer was waiting to take some photos of the bride and groom leaving to start their life together.

What a way to start it.

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