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Behold, the Awesome Power of Human Stupidity
12/19/06 | 60Gunner

Posted on 12/20/2006 12:11:27 AM PST by 60Gunner

There are some days that I encounter patients whose actions, driven by an utter absence of common sense, cause me to leave a treatment room shaking my head in dismay and mumbling to myself.

I'm not talking about the basic run-of-the-mill honest mistakes here. These are not the "I thought I had shut off that circuit before cutting the wires" kind of crowd. These are the runner-ups for the Darwin Awards who tried very hard to kill themselves but failed through sheer incompetence, thus disqualifying themselves from glory. Their survival was not so much a matter of God mercifully wrapping His arms around these people. It would be more accurate to say that the Angel of Death simply rejected these people because his pals at the bar would never have believed the story- it would have just been too easy. Even the Angel of Death has his standards, you know.

But just when I think I have seen something that officially qualifies me for the "I Have Seen It All" Hall of Fame, someone else discovers a new and creative way to come this close to finishing himself/herself off, only to survive to tell the tale to his/her grandkids. And oh, yes: they do procreate.

In fact, I think that there is a lost race of human beings whose origins have vanished in the mists of time; a race whose progeny now walk among us, wearing our clothes, eating our food, and sending their children to our universities; and yet these homonids have not quite shed the self-immolating tendencies of their predecessors. This race might very well be the missing link between the Darwin Laureates who managed to extinguish themselves on their own merits, and the Robbie Knievels of today. (By the way: I know a guy who claims, proudly, to have been shot in the foot by the younger Mr. Knievel. But I digress...)

I call this lost race Homo hey-watch-thissicus.

The hallmark of the species is its absence of a state of being merely accident prone, which is more the manner of H. jerrylewisium. Rather, the defining characteristic of the race is its ability to operate in a realm of logic that defies the laws of physics, thermodynamics, organic chemistry, common sense, and fire codes. The three most commonly-observed subspecies (that is, those who wind up in Emergency Rooms across the nation more often than any others) are Homo jackassii, Homo webmedicus and Homo mindblowinglystupidiens.

H. jackassii are a subspecies who instinctively choose to do things, without giving due thought to scientific empiricals, that invariably lead to great personal physical anquish and embarrassment. These are the numbskulls who sit in shopping carts and let their idiot friends push them down a steep hill with parked cars on either side. (I've met them- or more precisely, I've met their parents, who tend to be exceedingly embarrassed when I come out to explain to them why their stupid kid is in the ER this time.) Others of the species choose to car-surf (I've scraped acres of real estate out of their backsides). Still others try to jump their BMX bikes over a busy street during rush hour (not realizing that a mere human on a lightweight bike has inadequate mass to achieve either the velocity or the momentum to carry himself/herself aloft on a trajectory spanning the minimum fifty feet required to clear the cars on the opposite side of the street... and even on the exceedingly rare chance that they do make it to the other side, then landing on both wheels without sustaining a screamingly-painful testicular crush injury or massive vaginal laceration upon impact of the rider's perineal area with that teensy-weensy bicycle seat... yikes!). These yobbos end up with shattered feet, shattered ankles, shattered tibias/fibulas, shattered knees, shattered pelvises, burst testicles, burst ovaries, torn uteri, shattered femurs, compression fractures of the spine, skull fractures, facial avulsions... And do they wear helmets? Nooooooooooooooo...

ERs across the country attest that the jackassii gene is not exclusive to either the X or Y chromosome.

The second subspecies, H. webmedicus is marked by a set of ideas and thought processes regarding illness and treatment that are completely divorced from reality and logic. These are the people who, sometimes without benefit of a high school diploma, declare themselves more medically-savvy than the guys who go to school for up to fourteen frigging years because they "googled" their symptoms and decided to treat themselves with mail-order prednisone from the internet... only to arrive at my ER in a state of steroid-induced psychosis and refractory shock after suddenly stopping the medication because they felt better. They usually leave either gorked (brain-dead) or so physically demolished that the rest of their lives promise to be an ordeal of physical and emotional agony beyond their wildest nightmares. These are the ones who think that one does not need to go through years of school to understand the intricacies of a human body that even now remains insanely, humblingly complex to even the greatest medical and nursing minds.

The final subspecies is characterized by sheer abject stupidity with regard to self-care. One shining example of H. mindblowinglystupidiens can best be described in the following recent encounter:

A young man came to my ER treatment room with a garbage bag over his lower leg, which was placed by the triage nurse. He was whisked back to me before being fully triaged. The triage nurse apologetically told me that when she saw how badly he was bleeding through his dressings, she made the decision to bring him straight to the available trauma room.

I said, "No worries. My other folks are stable. I can triage him."

Well, the guy was simply lolling back and forth in the wheelchair, deathly pale and clammy. The ER Techs and I gowned up and gloved up. We chair-lifted the guy from the wheelchair to the gurney and put him on the monitor. He was tachycardic (fast heart rate), tachypnic (fast breathing rate), and just not at all well. I removed the garbage bag that covered his leg and noted at least a pint in there. I began to move faster. His full-length wool sock was wringing wet with blood. There's another pint. Still more blood was pouring through the dressing. So how long has this guy been bleeding? At least half an hour?

I slough the sock off the foot and it falls into the bag with a wet slap. I then notice the dressing: thick layers of tape covered the gauze below. There was no way to find the end, so I had to cut it off. I ordered one tech to hold up the leg, ordered another to get me a couple of pots of 4x4 gauze and Kerlix rolls, and whipped out my trauma shears.

As I began cutting carefully through the dressing, I asked the man to tell me what happened. He informed me that he had been seen in the ER yesterday because he was cutting down cardboard boxes with a fresh box knife and accidentally cut his leg while bracing a box against it. Honest mistake, I thought to myself. The automatic assumption is that the sutures failed, or an artery suddenly decided to "let go."

As I finished cutting, I told the two techs to get ready and I carefully peeled back a section of the dressing. A jet of bright red blood shot from under the dressing and painted the drape four feet away, Jackson Pollack style, before arcing straight up and narrowly missing the Tech holding the patient's leg. She let out a startled yelp and jerked her head away reflexively. I clapped the dressing back over the leg, grabbed gobs of gauze from the other tech (a veteran of the ER who simply said "Hmph"), and calmly (I thought) told him to get the MD pronto.

I once again raised the old dressing, prepared for the "pumper" this time, and slapped new gauze over a distinctly new and very deep wound just below the wound that was sutured last night.

"Where did you get the new cut?" I asked.

"I did it today," the guy moaned. "I was changing my dressing."

"You cut yourself again when you were changing your dressing?"

"Yes. Ohhhh," he moaned.

"Okay. How do you slice the hell out of your leg changing your dressing?"

"I didn't have any scissors. Ohhhhhhhh."

No. You didn't.... I thought.

I stopped wrapping the leg, ordered the female tech to hold pressure, and stepped over to the meet the patient's gaze. I leaned over the man, directing his eyes toward mine.

"Tell me you didn't use the box knife," I whispered. "Please."

"I used the box knife," he moaned. "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh."

I walked out of the room to get the MD, shaking my head in dismay and mumbling to myself.


TOPICS: Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: 60gunner; emergencynursing; stupidpeopletricks
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1 posted on 12/20/2006 12:11:29 AM PST by 60Gunner
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To: MaryFromMichigan; SunnyUsa; bad company; RobFromGa; doodlelady; Slings and Arrows; NonValueAdded; ..

Emergency Nursing Ping.


2 posted on 12/20/2006 12:12:39 AM PST by 60Gunner (ER Nursing: Strip 'em, Stick 'em, Shock 'em, and Ship 'em.)
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To: 60Gunner

Good morning 60Gunner.

Needless to say, I believe your post 100%.
BTW, I never think that I have seen it all, anymore.

Christmas blessings to you.


3 posted on 12/20/2006 12:18:01 AM PST by Cindy
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To: 60Gunner

Good read.


4 posted on 12/20/2006 12:18:12 AM PST by kinoxi
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To: 60Gunner

marker bump


5 posted on 12/20/2006 12:21:42 AM PST by alfa6 (Taxes are seldom levied for the benefit of the taxed.)
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To: Cindy

And may God bless you and your family richly this Christmas! He lives!


6 posted on 12/20/2006 12:23:42 AM PST by 60Gunner (ER Nursing: Strip 'em, Stick 'em, Shock 'em, and Ship 'em.)
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To: sweetliberty

Ping...


7 posted on 12/20/2006 12:28:05 AM PST by null and void (You might as well do something big, because doing something small is just as hard ~ Larry Bock)
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To: 60Gunner
Oh my H***! That was a near terminal case of Homo Stupidus.....

And I needed that gaffaw tonight.

8 posted on 12/20/2006 12:28:52 AM PST by Maigrey (This space reserved for Dianna.)
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To: 60Gunner

Gunner, in my business we told the story about the two surgeons who tried to trim the hedge between their homes, each of them grabbed one side of a lawnmower, and they aren't surgeons any more.


9 posted on 12/20/2006 12:31:38 AM PST by SWAMPSNIPER
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To: 60Gunner
My tomcat is staring at me, wondering why I'm chanting ohgodohgodohgod and wincing like a madman. Thanks for the ping, and HOLY @#$%!!!!!
10 posted on 12/20/2006 12:32:02 AM PST by Slings and Arrows ("I smell bagels.")
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

Well, it isn't rocket surgery...


11 posted on 12/20/2006 12:32:31 AM PST by null and void (You might as well do something big, because doing something small is just as hard ~ Larry Bock)
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To: 60Gunner

Can you add me to your list please?


12 posted on 12/20/2006 12:50:09 AM PST by Fire_on_High (I am so proud of what we were...)
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To: 60Gunner

He lives!
Yes He does.


13 posted on 12/20/2006 12:51:11 AM PST by Cindy
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To: Fire_on_High

Done!

60


14 posted on 12/20/2006 12:53:12 AM PST by 60Gunner (ER Nursing: Strip 'em, Stick 'em, Shock 'em, and Ship 'em.)
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To: 60Gunner

Great, now I know where my brother is...

Before he was twelve, he knew every person in the emergency ward by their first name, and when he wasn't in for five months we actually got a call from the head nurse wonder if he was okay.


15 posted on 12/20/2006 12:57:54 AM PST by kingu (No, I don't use sarcasm tags - it confuses people.)
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To: 60Gunner
Now Gunner, if you wanted to treat smart patients, you should have applied to vet school... :^)
16 posted on 12/20/2006 1:09:35 AM PST by Old_Mil (http://www.constitutionparty.com/)
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To: 60Gunner

Somehow the stupid ones sometimes manage to survive, no matter how hard nature tries to take them out of the gene pool.


17 posted on 12/20/2006 1:15:24 AM PST by WestVirginiaRebel (Common sense will do to liberalism what the atomic bomb did to Nagasaki-Rush Limbaugh)
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To: 60Gunner

Gunner can you add me to your ping list. I love your writing:)


18 posted on 12/20/2006 1:15:39 AM PST by LeGrande
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To: Old_Mil

A great big shout out to Iowa, Old Mil!


19 posted on 12/20/2006 1:15:47 AM PST by 60Gunner (ER Nursing: Strip 'em, Stick 'em, Shock 'em, and Ship 'em.)
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To: LeGrande

Done!


20 posted on 12/20/2006 1:16:43 AM PST by 60Gunner (ER Nursing: Strip 'em, Stick 'em, Shock 'em, and Ship 'em.)
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To: 60Gunner
burst testicles

IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, DON'T EVER USE THAT PHRASE AGAIN!!!!!!

*Going to curl up in a fetal position in the corner now*
21 posted on 12/20/2006 1:27:38 AM PST by marsh_of_mists
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To: WestVirginiaRebel

Yep. By the bye- I spent a hunk of my youth in Philippi. Know it?


22 posted on 12/20/2006 1:49:23 AM PST by 60Gunner (ER Nursing: Strip 'em, Stick 'em, Shock 'em, and Ship 'em.)
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To: 60Gunner

Great read.

As a child, my sister and I volunteered to help put new carpet in the church sanctuary with a young priest (he was the reason we bothered to show up!). They handed my sister a box cutter and she managed to stick it into another girl's knee as she was cutting the carpet. I don't remember the outcome but now that I have children I wonder several things:

1. Why were 11 and 12 year olds cutting carpet for the church?
2. Who was idiotic enough to hand us box cutters to do so?


23 posted on 12/20/2006 2:43:38 AM PST by NoExpectations
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To: 60Gunner
My current theory as to why these people are not only surviving, but procreating, is this: WARNING LABELS!

Because of warning labels, these people, who would normally be "weeded out" of the gene pool thru natural selection, are now surviving to maturity and reproducing, creating more stupid people....

However, I have noticed an upturn in the number of stupid people that are terminating themselves. I believe this is because we have reached either the "warning label saturation point", or they have bred to the point they are just too stupid to read and understand the labels....

24 posted on 12/20/2006 2:57:10 AM PST by dirtbiker (Warranty void in cases of shark bite, bear attack, and children under 5...)
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To: 60Gunner
Please add me to your ping list.

Let me add that I work on the IT help desk for a large hospital system, and encounter some of the same subspecies in the medical community seeking my help (or simply seeking some place to vent their frustrations.) It's very hard to kill or seriously injure yourself with a computer, but otherwise the behavior and thought patterns are the same.

Since I work over phone, it's only rarely that I'm tempted to drive over to the hospital and kill the client.

25 posted on 12/20/2006 3:10:45 AM PST by 300winmag (Overkill never fails)
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To: 60Gunner

When the only tool you have is a box knife, every job looks like a box.


26 posted on 12/20/2006 4:18:05 AM PST by sportutegrl (This thread is useless without pix.)
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To: null and void

ROTFL! Reminds me of a situation recently when I had to pick up a kid from the police station because Mom was arrested for drunk driving and child endangerment...among other things. When we went to court and she was on the stand, our attorney asked her why she was driving an unregistered vehicle on a suspended license with her 3 year old child in the car after she'd been drinking. Her answer: because her companion was too drunk to drive. Oh, and the reason she was stopped in the first place? She nearly hit a cop car.


27 posted on 12/20/2006 4:25:50 AM PST by sweetliberty (Stupidity should make you sterile!)
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To: 60Gunner
Their survival was not so much a matter of God mercifully wrapping His arms around these people. It would be more accurate to say that the Angel of Death simply rejected these people because his pals at the bar would never have believed the story- it would have just been too easy. Even the Angel of Death has his standards, you know.
Too rich!
28 posted on 12/20/2006 4:33:01 AM PST by raygun (Whenever I see U.N. blue helmets I feel like laughing and puking at the same time.)
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To: kingu

When my boys were young, we were on a first name basis with poison control....and they would call us and ask if everything was ok...damn kids could climb, manipulate the cupboard locks, and even open key locks!!!! We would put things up on our bedroom hutch ( above the top shelf, on the top of the hutch, a good 7' above the floor ) and the damn kids would still get into the stuff!!!! At least the poison control people had a sense of humor........


29 posted on 12/20/2006 4:33:05 AM PST by joe fonebone (Israel, taking out the world's trash since 1948.)
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To: 60Gunner
the intricacies of a human body that even now remains insanely, humblingly complex to even the greatest medical and nursing minds.

It's good to hear a doctor say this. I have a degree in mechanical engineering, so I know enough to tell you that the complexity of the human musculo-skeletal system is countless orders of magnitude greater than any machine created by man.

How anyone can believe that such a complex creature arose by chance is beyond me.

30 posted on 12/20/2006 4:52:22 AM PST by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: 60Gunner
I know you see them in the ER. I work in industry and see them actually enact their genetic dispositions out. It's amazing that so many people think the human body is stronger than a machine.

Please add me to your most entertaining list.

31 posted on 12/20/2006 5:17:43 AM PST by raybbr (You think it's bad now - wait till the anchor babies start to vote.)
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To: 60Gunner
I invent new ways to fail nearly every day.

Just yesterday I thought it would be a good idea to warm my shaving cream up by placing it in front of the ceramic space heater in the bathroom overnight.

When I woke up the can was on it's side and the cap had blown off, but the mess was much smaller than I expected.

Most of my failures are not life threatening, but such was not always the case.

I am only still alive because God is extremely kind.

32 posted on 12/20/2006 5:33:31 AM PST by Manic_Episode (Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps...)
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To: 60Gunner

At times . . . words fail.


33 posted on 12/20/2006 5:34:01 AM PST by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: 60Gunner
Hey Gunner,

you had me LOL-ing and shaking my head at the same time. I know all three subspecies through painful acquaintance.

As an aside, do you ever consider your obligation to the human race before patching one of these defectives up to reach breeding age? You may be contributing to the problems you are seeing.

As I've said before, stupidity should be terminal.

(I'm kidding, for the most part...)
34 posted on 12/20/2006 5:40:45 AM PST by Dr.Zoidberg (Mohammedanism - Bringing you only the best of the 6th century for fourteen hundred years.)
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To: Manic_Episode

Silly - just fill up your sink with hot water, put your can of shaving cream in, take your shower, and when you get out, the shaving cream should be warm. Voila!


35 posted on 12/20/2006 7:17:39 AM PST by jackibutterfly
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To: Quix
>At times . . . words fail

A woman I know
developed back problems from
lack of exercise.

Her doctor told her
to get an exercise ball
and do the workouts.

Just a few days in
to her new workouts, she fell
off the workout ball

and damaged a disc
in her spine. Now she's worse off
than she was before.

36 posted on 12/20/2006 7:24:29 AM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: jackibutterfly
That's what Dad does, but I like to shave before I shower.
They sell electric shaving cream heaters, but that seems a little extravagant for my tastes. I need to invent my own that is heated by tubes running thru a cup of hot water the same way beer is chilled.
37 posted on 12/20/2006 7:24:41 AM PST by Manic_Episode (Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps...)
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To: kingu
Before he was twelve, he knew every person in the emergency ward by their first name, and when he wasn't in for five months we actually got a call from the head nurse wonder if he was okay.

That would be my son, if we went to the ER for every sneeze, sniffle and broken bone...

38 posted on 12/20/2006 8:39:47 AM PST by null and void (You might as well do something big, because doing something small is just as hard ~ Larry Bock)
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To: 60Gunner

"gorked" -- been awhile since I've heard that one.

I worked in military ERs for several years, those too can be interesting.

Please add me to your well written list if you please.


From the web- (http://www.takeourword.com)

We suspect that the word you refer to is a corruption of gorked, a slang medical term which originally meant "anesthetized". It dates from before the 1970s, though no one seems to know the origin of the term, other than the guess that it was coined due to its expressive sound, and perhaps due to its similarity to the word dork.

The noun gork was back-formed from gorked in the early 1970s, having the meaning "a severely brain-damaged person". A brief scan of the Web showed the word gorked still being used to mean "anesthetized" or "doped up", as in "I was gorked on Valium".

I ran across the word for the first time recently when a profoundly brain-damaged infant was referred to as gorked. It's not difficult to see how the word might come to be applied to anything that is damaged or not working properly, or, as you phrased it, "messed up".


39 posted on 12/20/2006 9:46:53 AM PST by ASOC (The phrase "What if" or "If only" are for children.)
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To: 300winmag

Your are now on the ER Nursing stories ping list!

60


40 posted on 12/20/2006 9:47:25 AM PST by 60Gunner (ER Nursing: Saving humanity, one life at a time.)
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To: raybbr

Raybbr, you are now on the ER Nursing ping list. Thanks for stopping by!

60


41 posted on 12/20/2006 9:48:25 AM PST by 60Gunner (ER Nursing: Saving humanity, one life at a time.)
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To: ASOC
ASOC, you have been added to my ER Nursing stories ping list. Thanks for the comment! We use "gorked" almost exclusively to refer to a brain-damaged or brain-dead patient.

OTOH, when referring to a patient who has been rendered unconscious or sedated by medication, we use the term "snowed" (as in the "snow" you see on the TV screen when the station goes off the air). Perhaps I should create an ER Glossary of Terms. Some of the words are entertaining, but many of the terms might be offensive to less understanding souls, even if not meant to be so. It's the "trench humor," you understand.

42 posted on 12/20/2006 9:55:02 AM PST by 60Gunner (ER Nursing: Saving humanity, one life at a time.)
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To: sportutegrl
"When the only tool you have is a box knife, every job looks like a box."

Conversely, when the only tool you have is a screwdriver, then every job is screwed.

43 posted on 12/20/2006 10:02:45 AM PST by 60Gunner (ER Nursing: Saving humanity, one life at a time.)
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To: 60Gunner
LOL

I used to say "I Grok" - to convey a sense of understanding.

Now, I use simplified American Standard English or depending on the audience, a simpler "Yo, word"
44 posted on 12/20/2006 10:04:40 AM PST by ASOC (The phrase "What if" or "If only" are for children.)
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To: 60Gunner

Oh my dear goodness. These are people even Jerry Springer would regard as too backwards and stupid.

Then again, it's a wonder I lived through my childhood at times, especially out in the country where I was cavorting around with archery equipment and rifles/shotguns long before I was legally able to drive.

Sadly, a few of my friends did NOT pass the Darwinian final exam.


45 posted on 12/20/2006 10:08:01 AM PST by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: 60Gunner

Oh my dear goodness. These are people even Jerry Springer would regard as too backwards and stupid.

Then again, it's a wonder I lived through my childhood at times, especially out in the country where I was cavorting around with archery equipment and rifles/shotguns long before I was legally able to drive.

Sadly, a few of my friends did NOT pass the Darwinian final exam.


46 posted on 12/20/2006 10:08:05 AM PST by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: 60Gunner
The kid with the boxcutter - un-frickin-believable that someone that mind-numbingly stupid has survived for as long as he has.

I wonder if he's learned his lesson yet?
47 posted on 12/20/2006 10:10:38 AM PST by reagan_fanatic (A liberal is a suicide bomber without the guts)
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To: 60Gunner
Perhaps I should create an ER Glossary of Terms. Some of the words are entertaining, but many of the terms might be offensive to less understanding souls, even if not meant to be so. It's the "trench humor," you understand.

Please ping me when you have the glossary.

Oh, hell, just add me to your ping list...

48 posted on 12/20/2006 10:15:12 AM PST by null and void (Propaganda doesn't have to make sense. Hell, it often works better if it doesn't.)
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To: 60Gunner

Good post!


49 posted on 12/20/2006 10:15:39 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: 60Gunner
You, sir, should write a book -- create a sort of an anti-James Herriot genre... "All Things Dim and Ugly" might be a good working title.

At the very least, keep posting these gems at FR, and put me on your ping list.

50 posted on 12/20/2006 10:20:43 AM PST by r9etb
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