ATLANTA, GA – Stuffed to the gill with unpaid parking tickets and losing Lotto tickets, a Buick in the hospital parking lot is undergoing emergency surgery for glove compartment syndrome. Though the case is serious, surgeons at Grady Memorial Hospital (GMH) believe they have intervened just in the nick of time.
“Cars are tricky bastards because you can’t perform a fasciotomy on something that doesn’t have fascia,” said GMH general surgeon Brianna Thomas, pointing out the structures at risk on an emergent CT performed on the glove compartment. “Without surgery, we might see the compromise of some critical things like car registration, the driver’s manual, and a really tasty strawberry Special K Pastry Crisp there in the lower righthand corner.”
Glove compartment syndrome can lead to the following symptoms: pain, paresthesias, pallor, and, worst case scenario, paralysis. Physical exam signs include pain with passive stretching, a tense glove compartment that is “wood-like” even if it is made out of wood, pallor, diminished sensation, and paralysis.
The sections of a car body are divided into compartments by unyielding metal and fiberglass parts. Whereas compartment syndrome in a human limb is more often than not due to trauma, glove compartment syndrome is often the result of mindlessly forcing miscellaneous items over time in there, not taking heed to the fact you need to slam or kick it closed, often the first sign that glove compartment syndrome is developing.
“Every time I’ve decompressed a glove compartment, tons of such random crap just pour out of there,” explained Thomas. “Sure, old registration documents and speeding tickets are a given, but then I’ve seen strange things like baby dolls, a Slinky, and bags of kale. Thankfully, none of them have been infected, so no pus.”
What about gloves?
“That’s the funny thing,” said Thomas, “that’s the one thing that my colleagues and I have never found in there: gloves. When was the last time some actually stored gloves in the glove compartment anyway?!”