ATLANTA, GA – In an awkward moment at a patient’s bedside earlier today, orthopedic surgeon Thor Hammersley was caught doing what can only be described as a head-scratcher: auscultating his patient’s surgically-repaired femur with a stethoscope.
“I lost my stethoscope, so I was backtracking, trying to figure out where it might be,” explained hospitalist Lana York. “Just as I entered into the room, I saw Thor with my stethoscope…” She starts chuckling. “And there he is listening to the patient’s femur with my stethoscope! Ah, that Thor is a riot.”
Hammersley was kind enough to talk to Gomerblog about this unusual of physical exam maneuvers.
“One of our cases was canceled, so I thought I’d visit [the patient] again,” Hammersley began. “While I was in there, I saw this weird object by the sink. It looked like this huge black worm with antennae and a circle at the end of it. I see nurses and internists use it all the time and… I was curious. I never used one in my life. I only use sturdy objects like drills and hammers. This thing was so flimsy but I grabbed it, asked the patient if I could listen, so I did.”
The patient, Carlos Diaz, confirmed Hammersley’s account.
“I figured he was going to take a listen to my heart and lungs,” said Diaz, trying to suppress his laughter. “But he puts the stethoscope on my leg, listening very carefully. After a good minute, he said, ‘I don’t hear any pain, your femur must be resting.’ Just then my other doctor came in and when she figured out what was happening, she started laughing and left the room.”
“I’m kinda want one of these stethomabobs,” said Hammersley. “I wonder what a femur sounds like when it’s awake. Or a patella. Or a tibia. So many bones I could listen to. Well, I wouldn’t want to listen to the skull because it’s hard-headed, but I bet the humerus is hilarious.”