Emergency services are dynamic places where tragic events as well as funny events frequently occur. Following my graduation from Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, I worked as an Emergency Medicine Specialist assistant in my hometown, Trabzon, between 1999 and 2004, and I experienced many funny events during the five-year period.
Before I begin to narrate the events, let me share a story that will help you better understand the character of the people in Trabzon. My friend, who arrived in Trabzon for an assistantship around the same time as me, reached Trabzon around six in the morning. He parked his car by the roadside to buy some drinks from a kiosk. As soon as he got out of the car, he heard someone, later identified as a taxi driver, calling out to him:
- Hey, young man!
- First of all, welcome to our city.
- Thank you.
- Your car is blocking the front of my taxi. If a passenger comes out now, how am I supposed to get out of here?
- I’ll quickly grab some fruit juice from that kiosk across the street; it won’t take more than 10 seconds.
- Okay, you say it’s good and welcoming, but if a passenger calls me, how am I supposed to get out of here?
- In 10 seconds, my friend!
After a bit of repetition, my friend, a bit irritated, asked as he was getting back into his car after moving it a meter forward:
- Wasn’t there any customer at the kiosk while I was inside?
With a constant smile on his face, the taxi driver replied without changing his expression:
- At this hour, there won’t be any passengers, lad…
Now that you have a better idea of the Trabzon people’s character, it will be easier for you to believe that the events I am about to describe actually happened. Around 23:00, in the crowded intern room right next to the emergency entrance, we were sitting as a group. A visibly panicked patient, in his forties with his right index finger in his right ear, rushed into the room and spoke with widened eyes:
- A fly got into my ear!
“Take your finger out,” said one of the interns.
After a moment of hesitation, our patient pulled his index finger out of his ear. The fly, of course, flew out of the ear. Laughter erupted in the room, including the patient. It turned out the patient had traveled a difficult road from his village, three hours away, with his finger blocking his ear…
Now that ripe figs are starting to fall from the fig tree, everyone, regardless of age or gender, falls. I have experienced pretending to be an aunt at the age of 83. One day, while taking over the shift, there were four patients in the trauma room. The doctor handing over the shift began to tell a story:
- Altuğ, don’t fall from this fig tree; pelvic fracture. This one, don’t fall from the fig tree, we need to cast the leg. This patient, the last one, fell from the pear tree. Pears are falling. When I turned to the patient, I asked:
- Are you only feeling pain here (pointing to the lower right corner)?
- Pain, uncle, where did it start?
- In Akçaabat, my son…
Doctoring in Trabzon, where love and respect for doctors are at their peak, allows a doctor to practice his profession very enjoyably. One day, while explaining a prescription I had written, the patient in front of me interrupted and said:
- Up there is God, and here is you. If you write poison on the prescription, my doctor, I will find that poison and drink it. Don’t tell me about the drugs; the pharmacist will write how to use them, do you have any requests from me?
- Get well soon.
- Thank you.
DID YOU KNOW?
In clinics, the correct approach is to order the first test based on the most likely diagnosis, while in Emergency Medicine, the Emergency Medicine Specialist orders the first test based on the riskiest diagnosis. For example, in a patient presenting with stomach pain and nausea, the most likely diagnoses are diseases caused by abdominal organ pathologies; however, even if it is a less common diagnosis, tests for heart attack are performed first. Patients may sometimes find these tests unnecessary, but it should be remembered that the primary goal in the emergency room is not patient satisfaction but rather patient health.