Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

Bad Behavior In South Africa – A Gory Story

South African society is a completely lawless society. Pretty much everyone does just what they like and more often than not they get away with it. Red lights are just a suggestion, yet it is not uncommon to see a taxi stop in the middle of the road without warning. This attitude goes through almost all levels.

Yet there are some laws that people do obey. The law of gravity comes to mind. Mostly if you trip or fall off a wall or out a window you do approach the earth with increasing velocity and finally come to rest in some form of disrepair when you finally meet said earth, even if you are South African.  Another law that is obeyed was well illustrated by a patient we once saw in the old days.

The patient came in in a bad way. All sorts of bones were broken. Most of his ribs were also fractured in numerous places, causing areas of his chest wall to move paradoxically with each breath (so called flail chest). His abdominal wall had burst and all his guts were hanging out. His left hemidiaphragm had also ruptured. Suffice to say he was not having a good day. Neither were we.

We got to work and with quite a bit of effort and no small number of hours we got him through theater and delivered him to ICU. Only after all the excitement had dissipated did we get to hear the circumstances surrounding his injuries.

As it turns out our patient had some form of confrontation on the road with a truck driver. This resulted in the two of them racing each other and cutting each other off, all the while hooting wildly and raising the middle finger in salutation at each other. As time went by tempers frayed. Finally our patient decided on an ill advised course of action.

Now my understanding of the law of momentum is two-fold. Firstly momentum is mass times velocity. This basically means the object with the larger mass and greater velocity is going to maintain its course of motion more easily than a smaller stationary object. Secondly momentum is one of the laws that even us South Africans are subject to.

So when our patient raced ahead in his car, stopped on the side of the road and got out of his car to stand in the middle of the road to stop the oncoming speeding truck with nothing more than his outstretched hand, maybe he hadn’t thought it through too well.

*This blog post was originally published at other things amanzi*

You may also like these posts

    None Found

Read comments »

Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »