Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tough Love


A 32 yo male arrived via EMS in full cardiac arrest without a pulse. Despite our best efforts, and despite us coding him for over an hour, we pronounced him dead in the wee hours of the morning.

We all scratched our heads because this young man looked healthy, clean cut, and didn't appear to be an IV drug user. We went to the family waiting room and broke the bad news. It was tragic to all, including the nurses and doctors because its always hard to have a young person die.

Later in the evening, the hospital chaplin spoke with the girlfriend regarding their last moments. The girlfriend stated : "He had been looking at girls all night long and pissing me off. When we went to leave the bar he did it again, and I punched him in the chest and he took two steps and fell over."

When I heard the story I was shocked because I didn't believe someone could die from one punch! After some research, however, the condition is called "commotio cordis," results in V-tach, and can cause immediate death. Everyone should think twice before checking out girls in a bar!!!!

-Doc Sensitive

11 comments:

Dan said...

Just curious, but would she be guilty of manslaughter because it was her punch that caused his death?

Anonymous said...

Potentially. One for of manslaughter is when someone dies as a result of another crime. This is usually part of the state's penal code so it would probably depend on the state but since battery is a crime and he died as a result of the crime, she could probably be charged.

LivingDeadNurse said...

omg how awful to know that she caused it

Dan said...

Just a note to say that I do not think that she should be charged with anything, just that with some of the laws we have today she COULD be. Knowing that she caused it is more than enough in my opinion. (which counts for nothing ;-))

ERP said...

Holy crap.

Me said...

Did she think/know that she caused it?

Sabra said...

Dan, I can't say I agree with you. If a man hit a woman for looking at other men, we'd have a problem with it (death or no). If a man punched another man in the chest for looking at his girlfriend and the guy died, we'd have a problem with it. Ditto if it was two women. I don't think that, because it was a woman punching a man, we should excuse it. Seriously, how is punching someone for looking at a member of the opposite sex ever reasonable?

Dan said...

Sabra, to me, I guess it would depend. If the hit was one intended to hurt and in real anger, then perhaps there should be charges. If it were with the intent more like kidding around like many of us have done in the past, then maybe not.

Plump Pleasant Plumber said...

Well, she has to live with the fact that she killed someone for no good reason. As for intent, well....she did strike him in the chest, didn't she? Manslaughter, Negligent Homicide, that's for someone better qualified to say, however, cause and effect.....She does say that she got pissed off, and so here we are. And the poor guy is in the grave.

Anonymous said...

This is doc sensitive. We told the medical examiner that he did of cardic arrest. I don't think charges were ever filed- we felt she had been through enough and didn't push the punch as the cause.

Mark p.s.2 said...

Maybe it was this CC?
I heard of it happening in hockey.

Copy and pasted
"Although once thought to be exceedingly rare, commotio cordis (CC)—sudden cardiac death as a result of a blunt and often innocent-appearing chest wall blow—is being reported with increasing frequency.
Currently, CC ranks as the second leading cause of death in youth athletics, and it is apparent that this tragic event has previously been unrecognized and underreported.] More than 180 cases have now been recorded in the U.S. Commotio Cordis Registry, with most victims being young males (median age 14 years).

Derived from Latin and meaning disturbance of the heart, CC events are due to low impact, nonpenetrating chest wall blows, most of which are not of sufficient force to cause any significant structural damage to the ribs, sternum, or heart."