What’s wrong with me?
The patient: Gavin, a 43-year-old Holstein cattle farmer
The symptoms: Compressed abdomen, vomiting
The doctor: Dr. Stuart Whitelaw, consultant surgeon, Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, Scotland
Ten years ago, on a frosty December morning, Gavin was attempting to deliver a breech calf in a field on his small farm in southwest Scotland. The birth took hours and when it was finally over, Gavin collapsed on the ground—and the exhausted cow collapsed on top of him. Gavin’s cries for help were eventually heard by a neighbouring farmer, who attached ropes to his tractor to pull the animal away. Gavin was conscious but in severe pain. He was transported by helicopter to Dumfries infirmary, 120 kilometres away.
He had bruising over his ribs and abdomen, but no bones appeared to be broken, his blood pressure was normal and he was lucid enough to answer questions. After 12 hours of observation, the farmer was worried about his livestock and asked to go home, but doctors convinced him to remain overnight. The next morning, he began vomiting large amounts of greenish, small-bowel fluid. Doctors ordered a second CT scan and discovered a complete obstruction in his small bowel that hadn’t been visible before.
Don’t miss the 33 secrets hospitals don’t want to tell you.