Loyal readers know I'm addicted to the Discovery TV show Deadliest Catch. I get caught up in the drama and I like the truly unscripted aspects of these crabby crabbers.
And sometimes, I like the injuries.
Let's face it, I work in a world that survives on cuts, breaks and heart attacks. Nothing beats a good grinder on the freeway or a Saturday night stabbing. We don't wish calamity on folks but we train for it and we love it when it happens.
On this show, we not only get to see the aftermath of the injury, but in many cases we get to see it happening in real time. That's a point of view paramedics don't often get. In my case, it took a lot of years before I finally was able to picture in my head what had actually happened from the injury that was presented to me. Even now, what I picture never happens as fast as the real thing.
On last night's season finale, a crewman chops off the tip of his finger. It's a gnarly amputation to anyone unfamiliar with how real injuries look. You can see blood and bone. When all the fingers are in one shot, you can easily see how much shorter the newly reformed finger is than the others.
The money shot was the amputated tip sitting on the table. At least they might be able to reattach it.
In another segment, a Coast Guard helicopter crew flies out to a trawler for a crew member struck in the head when a cable snapped. The Coast Guard swimmer is lowered from the hovering helo and discovers a body rather than a patient. For safety reasons, the Coast Guard helicopter crew refuses to recover the body.
Some may find it harsh, but the safety of the crew is paramount. The danger they are willing to endure to treat a life-threatening injury makes no sense when the life is already gone.
How did the rescue swimmer know there was no chance? Maybe the crew member would have survived if only the swimmer had tried, you say?
It wasn't mentioned on the show, but the rescue swimmer can tell if the patient has obvious signs of death. If there's no chance for life, there's no reason for additional risk. Indeed, it's bad enough they had to hoist the rescue swimmer back into the helicopter.
As I watched the show and listened to the radio chatter between the Coast Guard and the trawler, I had a bad feeling about the condition of the patient. Over the radio they mentioned the injury was to the head, but the blood pressure was dropping. Early in traumatic head injuries, the blood pressure typically rises rather than falls.
When the blood pressure drops, a traumatic brain injury is worsening.
By the time the show was over, there were crushed knees and elbows. The Deadliest Catch lived up to its name again and I'm already looking forward to next season.