The Case of the Comatose Prisoner James Roberts, MD The Medical College of Pennsylvania/ Hahnemann University Drexel University School of Medicine Mercy Catholic Medical Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Case.
The Case of the Comatose PrisonerJames Roberts, MDThe Medical College of Pennsylvania/ Hahnemann UniversityDrexel University School of MedicineMercy Catholic Medical CenterPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
A 28 y/o suspected cocaine dealer was involved in a police chase that ended with the suspect’s car ramming a pole. The extrication took 30 minutes due to significant vehicle damage. The man was awake at the scene and was taken to a hospital for evaluation.
At the hospital he had a pulse of 110/min but otherwise normal vital signs and no complaints. Other than a facial abrasion and a small scalp hematoma, the physical examination was normal. In the ED he was agitated and urinated on the floor of the examining room (“I couldn’t hold it”).
No laboratory tests or X rays were performed. He was observed for 2 hours, “remained stable,” and was discharged into police custody at 9pm with a diagnosis of “minor soft tissue injuries.” At the jail he was placed in a cell with 3 other prisoners. At 8am he was unarousable and was returned to the hospital.