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The Underage Patient

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Many years ago I was working in an emergency department when a young patient presented with a potential neck injury. The underage patient had engaged in drinking alcoholic while swimming with friends and had hit her head on the bottom of the pool. She was not responsive on arrival. The attending physician had a difficult decision to make because this particular emergency department was not equipped to handle traumatic neurological injuries. The usual protocol required helicopter transport to a nearby trauma facility. However, a bad storm was moving in, making it a risky and dangerous situation for the helicopter crew to fly. The decision was further complicated by the need to ascertain if the patient was failing to respond due to excessive
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