Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Motorbike Injury Hospital

(PICTURE: Just a random picture to get the point across.)

Motorbikes are dangerous. Yes, I know you all know that because I've mentioned it a hundred times on my blog. However, recently I had a chance to see exactly how dangerous bikes can be.

I mentioned the other day that Huyen's grandmother was recently in the hospital because she had foot surgery. You may recall that I've talked in the past about how the hospitals in Hanoi are organized by specialties. There’s the eye hospital, the heart hospital, the nose/ear/throat hospital, etc. Well, Huyen's mother was at the Orthopedics hospital specializing in foot/leg/arm injuries. Upon entering the hospital for the first time (I went three times to see her), I immediately realized that the place should be called the Motorbike Injury Hospital. Nearly everyone in the place had been in some kind of traffic accident.

Frankly, the place was gruesome. Nine out of twelve people in Huyen's grandmother's room were wearing some kind of archaic looking cast on their surgically repaired legs. The worst case in the room -- STOP READING HERE IF YOU GET NAUSOUS EASILY -- was a twenty-something-year-old boy who had his leg run over my an automobile. The car or truck (I'm not sure which) had ripped off all of the skin from the boy's calf area and presumably broken his bones there too. The surgeons had had to take off the skin from the boy's thigh to replace the skin from his calf.

As horrible as that story is, it doesn't compare to a patient in the other room who everyone was whispering about on my second visit to the hospital. In the other room was another twenty-something-year-old boy who had gotten into a motorbike accident with a car. I'm not sure what exactly happened but the boy had to have both his legs amputated.

I think I'm writing this blog because I'm clearly a little spooked out after going to the hospital. I've felt awful for the second boy for a week now. On my third visit to the hospital I saw the boy laying in bed and could literally feel my heart sinking for him. Later that night, Huyen and I had dinner with our friends David and Elissa. David has been trying to work-over Elissa for a few months to allow him to get a motorbike. Elissa, rightfully so, is nervous because David had a minor motorbike accident last summer which resulted in some knee surgery. Having come right from the hospital, I basically shot David's chances of getting a bike to hell by talking about all of the motorbike injuries. Elissa had a brilliant idea upon hearing of the hospital. She said that all high schools should have to take a field trip to the hospital to meet patients and hear/see their stories.

Now, Mom, I'm sure you're gonna be a little worried after reading this post. However, the vast majority of people who drive safely on motorbikes don't get into accidents. That said, I'll be just as happy as you are once I give up motor biking for good...