Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Young Couple

They came into the ED early in the morning. Before most of us have had our first cup of coffee. Their SUV had traveled at least 500 yards off the freeway by the EMT's estimate, rolling countless times. Neither had been thrown from the vehicle, although no one knew how, since the couple reported that seat belts were a distant afterthought for them. 22 and 23 years old, too young to spend a sunny January morning being extricated from a severely crippled automobile.

"I don't know how it happened," she told me. A typical response after a violent car accident. It usually takes time to process what happened. The EMTs and firefights who brought them in had some idea of what caused the crash. "See that bruising on her mid-thigh," an EMT said to me, "that's not from her seatbelt, that's from her jeans. They were halfway down when we found them in the car." "Seriously!?" I replied. "Yup, and her boyfriend here either forgot to get dressed before he left the house this morning, or some serious hanky-panky was going on in that SUV when they lost control, because he was totally naked when we arrived on-scene."

I tried to control my laughter, but it was a losing battle. Just moments before I had felt the unfairness of the situation; a young couple injured in a terrible auto accident. But as the real reason for the crash sunk in, the humor of the situation hit me and I had to leave the room so that the patients didn't see me laughing. Had their injuries been more severe, I would have felt guilty about my laughing at their situation. Inexplicably they sustained only minor cuts and abrasions, but left the hospital that day with severe bruising to their egos.