I Lost My Ear: A Case Study
When Peter slammed on his brakes to avoid running over a cat, his relief at not killing the animal was rapidly overtaken by panic. As he braked the car had skidded sideways and hit a bollard at the side of the road. Although he was slowing down, the sudden impact triggered the air bag in Peter's car. “It was all a bit of a shock and it happened very fast. I was glad I hadn't knocked down someone's pet but I was worried about the damage to my car. I have insurance, but there is always an excess. I remember thinking about this and then noticing that there was blood on the air bag – a lot of it!” remembers Peter.
Broken Glass and an Ear InjuryWhen the air bag had inflated, it had pushed into the window in Peter's car door. This had a small crack in it for sometime that Peter had been meaning to fix. “As it was the side window not the windscreen, it didn't seem urgent and as it was going to cost about £80, I had left it. The trouble was, when the air bag hit the cracked glass, the window broke. It didn't shatter completely – the cracked part where the fault was broke off in a large piece and somehow managed to hit my head. Then came the worst moment of my life so far – I reached up and my right ear wasn't there, there was just a hole and a lot of blood on my hand.” says Peter.
This grisly scene prompted two passengers in the car behind to bundle Peter in their car and take him straight to the Accident and Emergency Department of the local hospital, which was only 2 miles away. “One of the women was the first aider at work and she saw immediately what had happened. She had been shopping and had bought some shirts for her husband – she unwrapped two of them, I held one against my head and she wrapped my severed ear, which had been on my lap, in the other one and we went straight to the hospital,” says Peter.