Case Vignette – September 2021

Case Vignette – September 2021

Can You See the Funny Side?

Whilst my sympathy for injured individuals is genuine and maintained, I can also sometimes see an element of humour.  At the risk of causing offence, I keep my mirth to myself.  I can recall a recent case however that should be shared.

Two workers were on a construction site in the central business district of Brisbane.  They were dismantling a steel structure.  The structure had two upright steel poles, about three metres apart.  Spanning the gap between the poles, and about three metres above ground level, was a third pole.

One worker was standing on a stepladder with a grinder and was in the process of cutting the junction between one of the uprights and the horizontal beam.  It was quite obvious that when the cut had been completed, the horizontal beam would collapse.

I was taking a history for a medicolegal report from the other worker.  He was standing beneath the beam.  Lo and behold, when the beam and the upright were finally rendered separate, the beam fell and struck him heavily over his shoulder, giving rise to a serious fracture dislocation.

At the end of the consultation, and departing from my usual routine, I asked him why he was standing there.

With a straight face, and without any hesitation, he said “My boss told me to stand there”.

What more can I say?