My Life Adventures, Travel Experiences and Reflections

Monday

"The Knife and Gun Club" - Part 1

Baylor’s ER was located in a less than desirable neighborhood and ‘walk in’ or ‘dump off’ trauma was commonplace. Situated directly across the street from an apartment complex referred to “The Projects”.

“The Projects” were government assisted housing units where very poor people lived. Understandably, many of the tenants were armed to the teeth. GSW’s (Gun Shot Wound's) that  originated from there were routine and about three blocks away from the ER was “The It’ll Do Club” - notorious for late night stabbings.

Our geographic location made us proficient in managing penetrating trauma. The weekend night shift in the ER was known as “The Knife and Gun Club.”


Somebody along the way told me the ‘club’ name began by way of the differentiating members. The weapon of choice and modality of maiming and/or killing were determining factors on whether or not you were a member of the ‘knife club’ vs. the ‘gun club’.

Generally speaking… American citizens vs. illegal aliens. American citizens could legally purchase a gun to shoot one another and illegal aliens, who were unable to legally purchase guns, would use a knife to stab one another.

The “Knife and Gun Club” would kick off on Thursday nights (payday) around ‘closing time’ (2 am) and continue until Sunday evening. Most of the victims were drunk or stoned, poor and under-educated.

It took me years to learn how to create strong boundaries between the patient and myself without losing my sense of compassion for them. After all, many of our ER clients were not the nicest of people.

The secret was to view their reality separately from mine and treat them as I would want my own brother or sister to be treated. It was the healthiest way for me to deal with some of the most horrific people and witness some of the most disfiguring trauma. But it took some time to get there as they don’t teach you this stuff in nursing school.

It was just after midnight on a Friday and “The Knife and Gun Club” was running full tilt. The ‘Bat Phone’ rang and we were told to prepare for an unconscious, hypotensive male with multiple GSW’s to chest and abdomen.

Within minutes, the patient arrived by DFD. An African American male, wearing a African print “doo-rag” and jeans, he was bloody and appeared lifeless. I could tell just by the look of him that he was a gangster.

Knife & Gun Club - Part 2 

ER 101

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