Sunday 20 November 2011

The definition of pain score 10

"12 year old male, bleeding testicle, ? cause, can hear screaming in the background"

Basically, any jobs with the words penis, testicle or vagina written on the screen envoke laughter. Toilet humour is rife in the ambulance service and those words send most of us back to our teens, sniggering like 13 year old boys. We hadn't got many details to go on really so it was going to be a case of rock up and have a look. We pulled up at the council estate, synonimous with local crews for being rough as badgers arse, and got to work trying to find the cul-de-sac in question. After a good 10 minutes we found it. I'm not going to lie to you, it looked grim. The front garden full of rubbish, beer bottles, childrens toys and of course dog shit. Lush. We cleared a path through the minefield of turd and stood at the front door. Before we even knocked we could hear the utter chaos inside. There was the screaming of what I assumed was our patient, a baby crying, a dog barking and two women f'ing and blinding at each other. I knocked on the door. After 30 seconds it swung open. The mother was standing at the door. I picked my bag up as if to enter when she said:

"You can't come in. The little shit will come out to you. Oi, get your arse to the door"

Charming. Obviously alarm bells ring when we are refused entry but looking at her, I wasn't going to argue.  She was vile and looked riddled with STD's. A moment later, squeeling in pain, our patient shuffled to the door. The kid looked in genuine pain, the scream told it all, he was wincing with every movement. Clearly, standing at the front door was not the place to be so with an arm under each shoulder we carried the boy to the truck and onto the bed. As we made our way down the path, what I assume was a sister, hurled an array of foul mouthed abuse at the kid basically saying he deserved it.  Most normal parent's would stay with their child but this one just slammed the door. Due to the location of his injury I wasn't totally comfortable examining him but we didn't really have a choice. I told the kid i'd have to have a look and through the sobbing he agreed. I carefully pulled away his trousers and pants, and there it was.........A de-gloved testicle. I recoiled. My crew mate turned away. It was like a veiny pickled onion dipped in ketchup. It was gross! No wonder this poor kid was in agony. 

"What happened?"

"My sister kicked me"

"How old is your sister?"

"She's 22, she stamped on me"

My eyes were pretty much watering. I couldn't imagine the pain he was in but it appeared my crew-mate could.  He could't look! I didn't need a pain score. This was a 10 every day of the week. I got a wet dressing out and simply laid it across his lap, fed him Entonox and Oramorph and we left. No training prepares you for these situations. The old adage of 'improvise, adapt and overcome' rang true. What was I supposed to do?! He was also covered in scratches and bite marks. They were all over his torso. He said he got in a fight with his sister but that she was much bigger than him. On route I requested the police. This was as much a social and criminal issue as much as it was a medical one. This was a serious injury with the real possibility of huge consequences and social services would have to be involved. I have no doubt, that the kid was a little shit, i'm sure he was rude, nasty and just like the other reprobates on the estate but he was hurt and in serious pain.  As a parent I can't understand that mentality too turn your back on your child when they are hurting but hey, I work and pay taxes so I guess they don't understand mine either. 

During the hand over, nurses and doctors crowded round in amazement and disgust that this had happened from a kick. I had a sick pitted feeling in my stomach for hours afterwards and even now, 2 years on, telling the story makes me feel ill! 


  1. Wow, painful post to read and im sure equally so to write.
    Was there any follow-up after the incident that you are aware of on the boy medically and socially?

  2. Ouch. Cheers for that. I may have difficulty sleeping now. :P

  3. Playing cricket for the school at about 12 i was hit in the same area by hard ball. i still wince a little on that thought. So I have a glimmer of what it must have been like. Mine probably a 6 or 7.


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