April 17, 2014
Last Saturday night, we were gathered with several families for a potluck and merriment. There were 5 kids under the age of 5. There were 5 kids over the age of 5. The younger kids were playing pretend fighting. There was also a dad giving 'superman' rides to the little kids, then there was a dad hanging kids upside down. My 4.5 year old boy was dangling upside down from a dad, when the dad's own boy said, "Dad, do that to me, do that to me!" and he yanked my boy's arm.
The boy was crying wanting to have the same upside down ride from his dad. My boy was crying because his arm hurt. Other kids continued to play. It was generally chaotic. There was crying, and there was screaming from playing. We did not respond immediately.
My boy's cries were rather shrill. His cries were ongoing, whereas he would have usually stopped fussing by now under normal circumstances. We went to go see what was wrong.
Our boy was crying on the couch where everyone was getting situated for a movie. He was holding his arm. When we went in to look at him, he said, "My arm hurts" and he was tearing as he held up his injured left arm with his right. We offered him an ice pack. He reached for it with the uninjured right arm.
We sat with him for a while, observing. He had stopped crying. His arm looked like it was turned inward. He would not let anyone touch. We held out my phone (a treat!) and asked him to play a game on it. He reached with his right hand. We held down his right arm and asked him to play a game on it. He wouldn't.
The family gathering was attended by a good representation of medical staff: two nurses and a pediatric neuroscience physician's assistant. We cleared the room of kids and sat down to focus on our boy.
With his arm turned inward, one of the dad-nurses palpated and felt the forearm bone indeed dislocated from the elbow. Not dealing with children often, neither nurse felt equipped to replace the dislocated forearm. The pediatric neuro PA, also, dealing mostly with brains and not with limbs, did not feel equipped to do the job.
Another dad, non-medical in background, entered the room. "OH! Yes, this has happened 6 times to our 3 year old son," and he offered to fix it the same way his doctor showed him. In two quick and confident moves, he repositioned the forearm into the elbow socket and motioned the hand up to reach the shoulder to confirm proper placement.
PHEW! Wow, what excitement on a Saturday night! What a scare it was for us for a minute there. Have you had experiences with dislocations? Perhaps emergency situations?