When an emergency is close to home

My introduction to emergency preparedness began with the management of an asthma attack experienced by my patient some 10 years ago. From this emergency, Medical Emergency Mastery was born. I realized that my patient’s emergency was due, in part, to my poorly constructed medical history, my overly-cumbersome emergency medical kit and the lack of staff preparation. I have dedicated the last 10 years to improving the lives of my patients and those of my fellow dentists.

But, last night, I experienced another “first”. My 17 year old son was injured at the hand of a classmate. His injuries were severe and devastating. As his face began to swell and he experienced difficulty speaking, I struggled to accept the fact that he may have a broken jaw. My worse fears were confirmed after an emergency room X-ray. The last 36 hours have been a blur. his mandible is fractured in two locations: at the mandibular symphysis and the angle of the mandible near the first molar. Surgery was performed today to reposition his mandible, remove a molar and fixate his mandible and maxilla. While observing his surgery, I felt like I was viewing an instructional video, not my son. It was the most surreal experience. When his procedure was complete, the reality of the next eight weeks started to take root. What would this time hold for us. This evening was a challenge: How will he eat? How will he stay hydrated? 

I am so grateful to the oral surgeon that rearranged his schedule to care for my son. Dr. Charlie Scruggs of Texas City, Texas is an amazing surgeon! His staff treated me like a parent: not like the colleague they normally see. 

I write these words as a source of encouragement to parents and health care professionals. Stay prepared, stay strong. There is never enough emergency preparedness. The drills you perform will provide you peace of mind when your emergency is close to home.

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