Home > Personal > A Different Kind of Dislocated Shoulder Story

A Different Kind of Dislocated Shoulder Story

I went to laser tag with several friends last Saturday. If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that I’m good at sneaking up on people and surprising them when they try to sneak up on me >:D

Afterwards some of us went rock climbing. Unfortunately Dom accidentally dislocated his shoulder while trying to go up the walls. I was busy climbing up my own wall so I didn’t realize it until five minutes after when I saw him sitting on the ground just ten feet from where I landed. Looking back at the incident, I realized I didn’t take the best course of action which was to make sure Dom left ASAP to the Emergency Department (ED).

This is what should have happened: Dom alerts everyone else the moment he realizes he dislocated his shoulder and finds a chair to rest on as quickly as possible. During that time one person asks a worker for the address to the nearest ED while another rounds up everyone else in the group to figure out who could drive Dom in his car to the ED. The two of them leave immediately after receiving directions while the rest of us gather our stuff/finish our activities then proceed to the ED. As such he should have been in his car on the way to the ED within ten minutes of dislocating his shoulder.

This is what actually happened: Dom alerted others the moment he realized he dislocated his shoulder. I got him to move to a chair immediately after I saw him on the ground so he’d be in a more comfortable position and could rest his arm. Someone went to ask for directions to the nearest ED. After that, we walked around asking others one by one whether they could drive Dom’s car to the hospital (our group was mingling around at the time). Then we decided how to organize the remaining rides (ten people in two cars). Finally our group of twelve left Laserdome and traveled together as a caravan to the ED. Some people were having their own conversations, waiting for the whole group to leave and a couple didn’t even realize about the incident until five minutes before we left. It was almost thirty minutes between the time Dom dislocated his shoulder and when he finally left for the ED.

In the aftermath, Dom got to the ED safely and saw a physician within thirty minutes of arriving. However the nurses had to sedate him since his shoulder was dislocated for a lengthy period of a time that popping it back in would be too painful. The procedure went smoothly and Dom is fine now although what troubles me is he woke up a few minutes after being sedated when it was supposed to leave him unconscious for hours…

Having worked in the ED for a year (I summarized my findings here) I should have recalled even a five minute delay in getting to the ED could mean a thirty minute longer wait time before being seen by a physician. Those who have read my previous entries know the biggest problem I have with myself is many times I stop thinking. I wasn’t thinking much during the incident and didn’t act with any urgency at all. Even though it wasn’t life-threatening, I wasn’t thinking the priority was still to find someone to drive Dom to the ED while the rest of us could take our time to reorganize ourselves. Even though there were twelve people in our group, I don’t consider anyone else at fault, but myself for the delay.

Perhaps if he had arrived earlier, he wouldn’t need to be sedated and thus avoid the inconvenience of being knocked out for several hours (I consider it sheer luck he woke up shortly after), but going over the what ifs isn’t the point. Although we couldn’t have asked for a better outcome, I am disappointed with myself how I didn’t take initiative and come up with a better way for our group to handle the situation even if it only meant getting Dom to the ED just twenty minutes earlier.

Yup…I just turned a story centered around an injured friend into one about myself… 😀

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