Sep 10

Dr. Castellanos’s Most Unusual Experiences

Case One

Around 1980 I was working at El Centro Community Hospital. I Belong to a group of ER doctors with contracts at El Centro Community Hospital, Scripps Hospital, and Mission Bay Hospital in San Diego. I had alternating shifts at Mission Bay hospital in El Centro Community Hospital.
One Saturday at El Centro Hospital, a football player was brought into the emergency room on a stretcher. The history was he was an imperial Valley College linebacker that may have become unconscious after a tackle. If I remember correctly the other college was Grossmont College from San Diego. This patient in the emergency room was from the San Diego team.
The paramedics brought him in vital signs were stable, he still had his for football gear equipment on including his helmet shoulder pads, etc.
As I was examining and talking to the patient, he kept insisting that he was fine and he wanted to be off the board or stretcher because it was uncomfortable.
My response was as soon as the lateral x-ray of his neck is taken and I review the results I would decide to take them off the board.
On Saturdays usually, the on-call physicians were sparse. Radiology was usually not there during the day nor neurosurgeons.
As I examine the patient at his side, he grabs my hand and then split seconds he yells that “I can’t feel my feet, I can’t feel my arms,“ then he goes into a complete cardio-respiratory arrest.
My adrenaline rushes! A code is called, EKG tech and machines appear, respiratory personnel and machines appear extra nurses appear you can hear CODE BLUE throughout the hospital hallways.
About that same moment, the x-ray of his neck is placed in front of me.
I see a complete translocation of his C-spine!
At the same moment, he starts having a seizure.


I was about to do an endotracheal needle intubation when his seizure miraculously stopped.


There are no neurosurgeons in the area. Or single neurosurgeon on that day was in San Diego.


My gut feeling was I needed to do something!
So I order all our help to help wheel him to the operating room where anesthesia equipment is kept.
While the patient and eight or so personnel breathing nervously going down the hallway I grab a Dr. S Who is a neurologist. I desperately ask him that I needed him to help me. He responded in the negative because he is not a neurosurgeon.
I in desperation said to him “I take full responsibility “ And I need you to help me.
He followed us into the operating room.
I gas the patient with nitric oxide,
His football helmet is still on, I ordered the neurologist to give me counter traction By stabilizing his feet.
I then grabbed the patient’s side of head and neck and gradually polled not knowing what to expect. Within five seconds I felt his head and neck go back “into place”
That sensation, to this date, I can remember vividly with teary eyes!
Miracles happen!
Only time will tell if I did the right thing. The patient spent a few weeks in the ICU, then transferred to the main floor, He walked out of the hospital three months later!

Thank you God!

No comments yet.

Add a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.