The craziest summer injuries you’ve ever seen



Summer is coming.

Sounds kind of like a reverse Game of Thrones, doesn’t it? That’s for good reason: Those of us who work in hospitals and emergency clinics dread the approach of warmer weather. For us, it means longer hours fixing people who did things that they probably shouldn’t have done and missing doing those things ourselves.

I’ve seen three memorable summer-related injuries in the last few years. The first was the guy who fell, after drinking, from the edge of a boat slip and landed on his head. The good news is that he didn’t drown, because the lake was down that year. The bad news is that he landed on his head on dried mud that had the approximate give of concrete.

Aside from a few difficulties with impulse control, he recovered really well. Drunk people usually do; they’re so relaxed when they hit whatever it is they aimed at that nothing breaks them. Much.

The second memorable “I should not have done that” came from a woman who’d spent the last 20 years training horses. One fine summer day she was out gait-training or lead-training or whatever it is horsey people do with their charges, when her horse tried to sweep her off under a low-hanging branch.

He managed to accomplish that, but she held on to his reins. She ended up with facial fractures, a broken tibia and a broken pelvis. When I asked her why on earth she just didn’t let go, her response was, “That would’ve taught him it was all right to try to run away.” I can’t help but admire her, even as I question her logic.

My third and final favorite came late in the summer several years ago: Some kid stuck his head into the business end of a combine. Those of you who are not from rural areas can look up “combine harvester;” I’ll wait. Keep in mind that “combine” here is pronounced with the accent on the first syllable: COM-bine. (Or, if you’re from Texas, “COM-baahn.”)

This is, people, not something one does on accident. Nor is it something from which one can easily recover. There’s a lot going on at the active part of a combine, and the machine doesn’t care if it’s going on with wheat or corn or your brother Fred.

Surprisingly, the kid in question escaped with massive bruising and a partial scalping. He got sewn up by a plastic surgeon and, I assume, returned to life on the farm thereafter. I hope he didn’t decide to take up horse training or sailing instead.

What are the craziest summer injuries you’ve ever seen? Share ‘em in the comments below (keeping HIPAA in mind, of course!).


Agatha Lellis

Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at

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3 Responses to The craziest summer injuries you’ve ever seen

  1. bbmuzzy

    The guy who decided to “take a leak” on a nest of ground hornets. What they did to that poor guys member was horrifying and hysterical all at the same time.

  2. GEB

    My favourite was a man who was carrying fireworks in his lap, in his car, whilst smoking. He inevitably dropped his cigarette and blew a hole in his lower abdomen. Luckily he had enough fat on him that it didn’t reach any organs.

  3. redheadednurse

    I had a patient who was using his angle grinder in the top shed of his farm when it kicked back and made contact with his face. He managed to get to his house and his wife drove him down to hospital.

    Walked in with a GCS 15. However his face was literally cracked in half with skull and bone fragments lodged in brain matter.