Working in the tropics, we see a lot of unique presentations related to our colourful and often unfriendly fauna.
Last year we had a run on crocodile bites, mostly the freshwater crocodiles who inhabit the local gorges and can give a painful nip if provoked. However, it is unusual to see a major injury – especially from a big saltwater croc – as they usually don’t let go. Over the years a number of unwary (often German-speaking) tourists have et this grisly fate in the top end of Australia.
However, the Darwin-award has to go to our man last year who actually broke into the local crocodile zoo and attempted to commune with “Fatso” a fully grown salty. Needless to say it did not end well. At operation we saw perfect tooth indentations in the cortex of his tibia and articular cartilage of the knee. Last I heard, from an unreliable source, the patient was alive but one leg short (fact to be confirmed).
My interns – Drs Sam Fitzpatrick and Amanda Thomas – decided to write this case up and got it published in the Med Journal of Australia last year – it is hilarious. For the record – the “infectious Disease Department” is just a bunch of my colleagues, who thought it would be funny to send the interns into the croc enclosure armed with only some micro swabs tied to a broomstick. Unbelievably they actually did it (you could not pay me enough!@%#%) and came up with the crucial Microbiological data we needed.
For a few days Broome Hospital was receiving more media attention than Obama, and for all the wrong reasons. For a Newspaper version of events click here.
So what can we learn from all this, well I think not much actually. Maybe town planners should mandate a minimum staggering distance between pubs and zoos?