3 year old Jimmy was excited when he saw his Daddy’s truck coming up the driveway. The subtle bump as the giant 4×4 ran over Jimmy’s abdomen was almost missed, but Jimmy’s cry was heard by dad in the cab and mom in the house. He was awake and alert, boarded and collared as our trauma team descended. The large tire tread mark over his abdomen was the only obvious injury as we pounced upon him masked and gloved, with hands palpating, scissors tearing and IVs plunging. As I peered down all forehead and nose to his view he looked back with terror. Calmly, quietly I did my best to explain in terms a 3 year old would understand the action unfolding. He was being incredibly brave as I assessed him. As I tried to illicit any other injuries I asked, “Jimmy what hurts?” He looked straight up into my eyes and responded, “Being run over by daddy’s truck.”
It’s a busy day in the ED. Thirty deep in the waiting room. Patients are threatening to leave. Staffing is short. Your colleagues are dying for help and you are the one who gets the call to pitch in and lend a hand. With a heavy sigh, you flop on the sofa, flip open your lap top, and start seeing patients.
Future fantasy? It is not as farfetched as you might think. Although the medical industry is often maligned as being a slow moving monolith resistant to adaptation, there are a slew of groups, both academic and commercial, looking into bringing telemedicine to the mainstream.