Who links to me? X-ray Rocks: Shearling Death

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Shearling Death

This is a shearling coat. I hate these coats!

When I was a student we had a horrific case come into the ER. An 8 month pregnant woman, her husband, and their 3 year old daughter were in a car accident. The daughter was ejected from the car, but escaped with only minor scratches, because she was properly belted into her car seat. The husband broke his tib/fib and had some lacerations to the face. The pregnant woman however, died. She was wearing a shearling coat.

When she arrived at the ER she was talking and alert. She had severe abd. pain and at first the Dr. thought she was having contractions or some type of labor pain, brought on by the tension of the seat belt across her abd.
Of course, she was worried about her baby and asked the Dr. to do 'whatever you have to' to save it.
They did an ultrasound and the baby's heart was beating and there wasn't any hemorrhage in the placenta or uterus.

This is all taking place in a 3 bed trauma suite. She's in the 3rd bed and her husband is in the 1st bed. He calls through the curtain to her and they talk back and forth a few times, but she's still in extreme pain.
Gradually, she starts to lose consciousness and her blood pressure drops.
The baby's heart beat disappears.
The nurses start CPR.
After 20 mins. they call time of death.
Everyone leaves the room and they move the husband to a different room to be with his daughter and in-laws.

This is the part I hate.
We (my student tech and me, a student also) have to do post mortem films on her.
The nurses have cut most of her shearling coat, shirt and bra off. They took the shirt and bra, but there are still big chunks of hairy fabric, from her coat, everywhere on the cart. One dangling slice is still buttoned across her belly. They took her pants.

My job is to lift up her shoulders, so we can slide a cassette underneath her chest for a CXR. I have to pull her body up toward my face and her head flops backward. Her hair is nice, honey brown with blonde highlights.
For the next x-ray, of her c-spine, I have to hold on to her wrists and pull down her shoulders. We do some other x-rays and then we leave.

That's why I hate shearling coats.

I think they eventually said her aorta had been sheared off during the car accident and had slowly leaked blood into her abd cavity, but I never found out for sure.
Sometimes, I wonder what happened to the husband and daughter. Have I every walk by them in Walmart? Or did the husband have a nervous break down? Or did he re-marry? Does the little girl remember her mother?

Sorry - this is kind of long.

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