A Stitch in Time

A remote nursing experience in the NT Australia (part 9)

NOTE: This post is NOT for everybody. It contains strong images of serious injuries!!!

The incidence of violence in the remote indigenous communities that I worked in was high.

Injury01

For the most part this was associated with excessive alcohol use, although there was certainly quite a bit of suturing work generated from the “pay back” system. What this meant was that if a family member was badly injured or died there was generally someone who was in some way responsible. Not necessarily because they inflicted the injuries, but sometimes because they were not there to look after the person concerned. Domestic violence (usually, but not always, male to female) incidents were high and often alcohol related also.

A knife slash after too much to drink!
A knife slash after too much to drink!
A compound dislocated thumb - from a bull kick!
A compound dislocated thumb – from a bull kick!
A "pay back" boomerang injury.
A “pay back” boomerang injury.
Sliced triceps. Went through a plate glass window.
Sliced triceps. Went through a plate glass window.

Items most commonly used in violent episodes included boomerangs; nulla nullas; star pickets; sticks; glass and fists.
Suturing was a regular occurance. Sometimes an injury required medivac (off to hospital by plane) – as did the triceps one which was a little too involved for our clinic. As I have said in previous articles, I believe education is the most essential ingredient to decreasing the incidence of violent injuries and deaths in remote indigenous communities. As a nurse in the community providing such education at any meaningful level was near impossible given the staffing arrangements and the extreme morbdity in so many lifestyle areas.

Bob Goodwin – StoriesAndPlays.com

NEW eBook Emotional Drafting (take a peek)

(Select “PRODUCTS” to see all – or click short stories; screenplays; one act plays; short plays; and novels)

PLEASE NOTE: You can leave a genuine email address if you wish to leave a comment. It WILL be kept private & you will NOT be spammed.