Sunday, December 21, 2008

Be careful when taking walks

One of our ER docs told me this story:

Many years ago, when I was doing my residency near The Other Big City, police brought this elderly gentleman in to the ER. They said that they'd found him wandering around and when they stopped to question him, he responded with incoherent words and neither one of the officers could figure out what the man was saying.

And neither could we. His vitals weren't normal but they weren't off the wall either. One of the nurses thought she detected some AoB (Alcohol on Breath) but for the most part this guy appeared benign. Lungs clear, good heart sounds, no apparent signs of trauma.

Then, one of the cardiology residents who happened to be down on a consult happened to pass by the ER room while we were trying to figure out what the hell to do. He stopped, poked his head in and asked one of the nurses what was going on. Upon being told the gist of the story; the resident shook his head and said: "He's not mentally confused or unstable. He's speaking a different language. I don't know what it is but I know it's not gibberish." Apparently this cardiology resident was of Indian extraction and had heard it before.

This set of a flurry of activity... and before long, they managed to find an Indian-American nurse who was called down to help translate.

Apparently, this gentleman had recently arrived in country; visiting his son's family for the holidays. He'd had a glass or two of wine in the afternoon and had decided to stretch his legs with a walk and take in some fresh air. That was when the police found him and the poor man spoke not a syllable of English. Fearing that he'd been injured/lost and wanting to make sure he was ok health-wise, the police brought him in and that's where all the fun started.

1 comment:

EE said...

Haha, poor guy! I wonder if he got charged for the visit? Should have known just a wee bit of English, aka "I don't speak English" or "No English."

This is one reason why I won't ever visit another country. Though, a lot of other countries residents speak English, in addition to their native tongue...