"Oowwww!!! Why are you hurting me!!?!?" he screamed in my face. "I'm sorry 'Jimmy'*, I know it hurts. Just be as brave as you can and we'll be done soon, OK?" I replied.
'Jimmy', the poor little guy, had fallen off a swing at the park and broken his wrist. How did I know it was broken? Well, it looked something like this. So, although I'm no doctor, it was pretty safe to say it was broken.
His parents brought him into the ED about 30 minutes earlier and the doc had ordered a stat 2 view order for his wrist, and with good reason. So I and another tech hurried to the ED to take the x-rays, develope them and get them back to the doc as soon as we could. 'Jimmy's' parents and the other tech positioned his arm, while I got the portable x-ray unit in position. We needed a PA and Lateral view of the wrist, so poor 'Jimmy' had to endure the pain as we switched cassettes in between x-rays.
Being seven isn't easy, but being seven with a severaly broken wrist really isn't easy. But he was brave and put up with our manipulation of his injuried limb with much less protest than I would have thought.
Once back in the rad dept, we developed the images and took a look at them to make sure the density and contrast was right and all pertinent body parts were in view. From looking at the image it was apparent that 'Jimmy" had sustained some major trauma to his wrist. He had broken his distal ulna and radius just below the head, and the bones had displaced and were no longer in line, hence the gruesome look of his arm.
It was a difficult situation. You're torn between getting a quality image that will give the doctor all the information he needs about the injury, but at the same time you absolutely don't want to cause any more pain to the pt, in this case a child, than is necessary. Overall, the tech did a great job comforting the pt and his parents who were visibly upset. I just hope that with time and "practice" I will be competent enough to do as good a job as this tech did.
*all names have been changed to protect patient privacy.