Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Medical Emergency

Special Update: Medical Emergency

One of my students last period had an accident and had to be taken to the Emergency Room. I have no idea what happened, as my back was turned to him for half a minute, but as I was quieting my last class of the day to get ready for announcements I saw them all back up quickly and fearfully like they'd seen a mouse.

I turned around expecting a mouse, and say one of the students on the floor. As I was opening my mouth to say his name, he opened his mouth and started spitting up blood. Lots of blood. And 2 teeth.

I quickly helped him up and got him to a chair with some paper towels to catch the blood falling out of his mouth. He covered my floor with spatters of spit blood for 3 feet. There was so much blood that it was coagulating in big clumps as it sat there.

I shooed the students out of the room and into the hallway, ran and got the nurse that teaches next door, and then tried to comfort my student. I had trouble with that. What do you say when one of your students has 2 of his teeth - root and all - laying in a puddle of blood on the floor? Really, "they can put them back in," sounds lame and "it's going to be OK," sounds trite.

I just settled for hugging him and telling him that his family would be with him soon and that he was going to see a doctor that would make it ok.

When the school nurse got there with gauze and other medical supplies, I backed up and let her do her thing. Medically trained, I am not thought I have an interest in the subject. Trying to be useful, I got the cops (who were coming in the door) the students emergency contacts and updated everyone on what I knew, though it was precious little.

However, I did send one of the cops for some milk. I said that we needed to get his teeth into milk as soon as possible so they could put them back in for him at the hospital. The cops went running to the cafeteria and came back with the milk in 5 minutes. Until then, we wrapped the teeth in wet paper towel. Once the teeth were in the milk, the EMTs arrived from the ambulance waiting outside. I wrote the exact time his teeth had come out on the carten of milk in permanent marker and made sure to show the EMTs the information so they could show the doctor.

Of the two EMTs, the taller man looked at me with a smile and said "I thought that was an old-wives tale, but OK." I seriously could have punched him. In the face. Hard.

I almost started crying when my administrator said that he had to go with my student to the hospital and not me. I wanted to stay with him and make sure he was safe until his family came to his side. He knows me. I could have comforted him when he was the most scared. He doesn't know the Academic Dean of our Magnet that well. He knows me and trusts me.

In the end, I told him that he would be OK and that the EMTs would make sure everything would be alright (which I doubted but kept to myself). Once he'd left, I had 3 students come walking in for after-school tutoring and stop at the sight of all the blood. I think he lost a little less than a pint on my floor, desks, stools, and walls.

I told them to wait in the office until I made the room sterile. They nodded vigorously and left with very wide eyes.

The school nurse, bless her, stayed and helped me clean up the blood. I went to get a gallon of bleach that I keep in the back room and mixed it up for at 70%. My science training came in handy, as I had to memorize how to clean up bio hazard spills as a researcher that handled blood. 70% bleach for at least 30 seconds, then wipe with alcohol after the bleach has dried. It took us almost an hour to get the blood up off the floor.

I was a bit in shock myself, as I just started laughing in the middle of cleaning. It was, apparently, infectious as the nurse started laughing to. I told her that cleaning up blood was "not in my plans for a Tuesday afternoon."

Update: 9PM

I called the boys legal guardian. He lives with his aunt. She told me that they were able to put his teeth back in at the ER. She also told me, which did make me cry, that it was because of me and my quick thinking that they were able to save his teeth. If they hadn't been put in the milk, he would have lost them because it took so long to get him into the ER. The root of the tooth would have died.

He's OK. I didn't realize how scared I was until I talked to his aunt. I apologized to her for not having more information on what happened, but told her everything I'd seen. I told her that tomorrow, I would talk to my students and find out what happened and update her after school. So help me, if anyone hurt that child I will yell at them with an inch of their life. Of course, I'm upset so I probably should calm down first. Never discipline children when angry. Ever. I learned that growing up.

Though, I now understand my mother saying to her children: "If you're OK at the end of this, I'm going to kill you."

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