John’s ‘you can’t touch this’ ED encounter

Imagine being forever nicknamed after a parachute-panted-rapper, just for having a “very painful brain fade”...

Experienced maintenance fitter John was at work on a site in Adelaide recently. His task? Removing a simple blank and hitting the edge of the flange with a hammer to loosen it.

“Somehow, I managed to put my left hand onto the edge of the plate where I was hitting… and, for some reason, my right hand continued to swing the hammer,” John said. “I just kept hitting!”

“I took the glove off, my finger started swelling up and there was blood going everywhere. I guess I knew at that point a Bandaid wasn’t really going to fix it.”

John called for help on the radio. There were nine workers on site and, shortly afterwards, eight co-workers met John and his throbbing finger at the First Aid Room.

“We’ve got a great team,” John says. “We unwrapped the glove, I looked at the finger… I did go a bit white… “

John’s employer has the Calvary Hospital Emergency Department down as the preferred medical port of call for employees who become seriously ill or injured at work. So, with John’s crushed finger safely bandaged, a colleague drove him to the E.D.

“On the way, all I could think was ‘what are my bosses going to say?’” John said.

“I was stressing a bit – I can’t fathom why the hell I kept on swinging. You can only laugh though. Everyone else has!”

Even if I’d had to foot the bill, I’d have no qualm with that. Thanks to all the staff who were on that night!”

As soon as John walked through the ED reception area, he knew he was going to be well looked after.

A nurse greeted John and helped him to a seat, before checking his dressing and making an initial report. An X-ray promptly followed, then an ED doctor checked John’s finger. WorkCover forms were organised.

“Everyone was just great, very friendly and professional,” John. “I was only there for 2-3 hours all up.

The doctor had a look, stitched it up, dressed it up and organised for me to get in at Adelaide Plastic Surgery the next day. I thought it would take a couple of days to get in, but it was all sorted for me like that.”

Within 24 hours of his accident John saw a plastic surgeon, who removed his damaged fingernail, cleaned the surface underneath and reattached the nail.

“Apparently I was the third person to come in that day with a hammer injury,” John said. “Better the third than the first – they sure knew what they were doing by the time I go there!”

John has now returned to work, initially on light duties. He says he can bend the injured finger “quite good now” and the pain has eased. What isn’t likely to go away though is the ribbing from workmates over his pink-strapped middle digit… or his new nickname, M.C. (Hammer).

Regardless of the fallout from his “brain fade”, John has only good things to say about his Calvary ED experience.

“At the end of the day, you don’t want to hesitate with things like this,” he said. “You want to know you’re going to be fixed up – and then it’s done and dusted.

“Even if I’d had to foot the bill, I’d have no qualm with that. Thanks to all the staff who were on that night!”