Tuesday Afternoon in Germany: A Visit to the ER via Ambulance

So, Cheyenne was hit by a car on Tuesday.

She is going to be OK.  Nothing is broken.  She is a giant bruise, and everything is very sore, but she will be fine.  Although she was thrown through the air, she somehow landed without hitting her head.  She will be OK.

Lots of people stopped to help her, and the woman that hit her stayed at the scene until the police arrived.  Cheyenne had the presence of mind to call Dirk, and he rushed to the hospital to meet her.

I have never felt so helpless in my life.  Stuck at home while my daughter was in the ER.

I have been a mom for 23 years, and a Registered Nurse for 17 years. Most of those years working as an ER nurse.  Yet, here I was, stuck at home, waiting for news of my daughter after this accident.  It was torture.

Once she was home, and she made it clear she was OK, I grilled her about her care at the scene and the hospital.  Were the proper Xrays done, was she immobilized?  What medicines were used?

Well, I must admit her answers really shocked me.  Her descriptions of the German hospital care care was VERY different from care that I have given for years in US hospitals.

It sounds like she had amazing, and skilled Paramedics caring for her at the scene.  On a normal day, Cheyenne is able to speak German very well.  After getting hit by the car, not so much.  The medics quickly switched to English to speak with her, making her feel much safer.  After evaluation, they deemed she did not need spinal immobilization, but needed to be further evaluated in a hospital setting.  So, off to the hospital she went via ambulance.  They continued to palpate her neck and spine to continue to evaluate for any pain or tenderness.

Once she arrived to the hospital, everything I know about treating trauma went out the window.  She was brought to a room and a doctor came in briefly.  He determined that she would need some xrays (Obviously) and then had her walk to the waiting room to wait for said xrays. Wait, what?? I about lost my mind at that part of the story.  She was not bumped by a car, she didn’t trip and fall down.  She was hit by a car and sent flying into the air!  This is considered a trauma in every hospital that I have ever worked.  Yet, before having her cleared via xray, she was asked to walk, carrying her backpack and purse to the waiting room. (She was complaining of low back pain, right ankle pain, lower leg pain, and hip pain).

Long story short, no urine sample was obtained (She had low back pain which could indicate kidney injury), They did xrays of her ankle/leg and her ribs/chest.  No films were done of her hips/pelvis or low back.  She was sent home with a few tabs of Motrin 600mg and instructed to follow up with an orthopedist the next day.

I know that in the States we tend to over xray, and do too many studies just to be on the safe side.  Or, more specifically, cover ourselves from lawsuits if something is missed.  But, that is how I was trained.  So, this way of evaluating someone is SO alien to me.  It feels so risky, so minimal, something big could be missed so easily.

But it wasn’t, she is OK.

She had further xrays done at her follow up.  Her hips and pelvis were xrayed.  Everything came back clear.

I still do not know how I feel about the whole German hospital experience.  It’s just SO vastly different from everything I have know to be correct.

Things happen in a blink of an eye.  A woman drives over a crosswalk, and sends your kid flying.

Yet, she is going to be OK.

Not sure when I will be.


If you are living abroad, or far away from family, how have you dealt with emergencies?  What have you done when you have no family nearby to help, or sit with you?  How have you handled the language barriers?



64 thoughts on “Tuesday Afternoon in Germany: A Visit to the ER via Ambulance

  1. Before coming to Germany, I really didn’t know how to ride a bike, or anything about traffic laws or driving around other bikers, cars, and pedestrians. Long story short, I had an accident one dark, rainy morning on the way to school (just a bump between me and the slippery sidewalk, no one else was involved). I walked back home, my knee completely bashed open and hands bleeding, then my host parents drove me to three doctors offices before we could find one that was open and accepting walk ins. That was completely foreign to me, as I’m used to American urgent care. There was no bedside manner to the doctors, they just patched me up and talked to me as little as possible, since my German was not so good back then. I’m grateful my host parents could help me sort out my insurance and support me, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can feel for you!!! When Kyle was in his accident, the care in Indiana was horrific. They ignored his injuries until they found out we had insurance (2.5 days later) it was awful!!! So glad she is ok!!! Hug her tight!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yuk, the ultimate nightmare. Resonates rather horribly in fact as a close friend has been in a horrendous car hit in Greece. Everything imaginable broken except back and head so small mercies. Fortunately she is Greek with family nearby but her husband was here. So quite get what you’ve been through. Tell her that that’s to ticked off the bucket list and never again…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t believe it! I know that we can tell a lot of things with a could physical exam, but we often find fractures on xray even after a clear physical exam. I would NEVER have a patient walk to another room after begin hit by a car before they had been cleared through xray, never!I was shocked!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG. I almost didn’t hit “like”. Because how could I like this story. As a Mom myself, I can imagine only too well the terror and anxiety you must have been feeling. Thank goodness your daughter is safe. What happened to the woman who hit her with her car?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Poor poor Cheyenne! As for the woman, there simply must be consequences for irresponsible behavior. I am shocked as well. A woman was killed crossing the street in a designated crosswalk near me a few months ago. Now I am afraid to use them.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That sounds super scary. My daughter came down with some kind of virus while in Barcelona and had a high fever and strep throat. She had called me through Viber and said she felt dizzy and faint. Her class had gone to the French Riviera for the weekend. She was alone. I panicked and called the Semester Abroad. Within ten minutes she called me back. She got herself into a cab and went to the strangest doctor’s office. She didn’t understand Catalon but the doctor sent her home with two prescriptions. She never really recovered until she had a tonsilectomy six months later. The US doctors couldn’t figure out what those prescriptions were!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OMG Cherie! I am relieved she is ok, very relieved. You’ll be able to get arnica tablets which will help enormously with the bruising – but you already know that, Jesus, what a shock!

    I guess this is really when you feel foreign, when there’s an emergency and everything is different. Poor you, feeling helpless is awful- particularly when you are an experienced, competent person – which you are.

    You’ll be all action looking after C, (love and gentle hugs to her) but for heavens sake take a little time for you too, I’m sure this has taken its toll.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. But it’s ok, different not wrong, just a little different based on whatever checks and balances are standard there. And it’s all based on similar things, happening all the time.
        As much as you are feeling it keenly, now you’ve been through this, you have actually just become a little bit more German. Bit of a baptism by fire though.

        Crumbs, I’m thinking of you – here if you need me xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Cherie, oh my goodness! I’m so happy your daughter is okay. What a scary thing for you all. And, I’m sure distressing for you when you didn’t feel she was looked over properly. I can’t imagine having worked in an ER for years, not being able to be there, and then feeling worried about what wasn’t initially checked. Hoping for quick healing for your daughter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seemed wrong to me too. But, I am trying to remember that I was trained in the States, where everything is over done to protect from lawsuits. So, I probably err on the side of caution in my practice. But, she was just struck by a car and thrown!! So, maybe should have done the xrays before having her walk and wait in the waiting room…..Either way, we are just thankful that she was able to walk after this incident!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I could write for years about the positives and negatives of Irish hospital services- the point is inconsistency is the king. It frustrated me and makes me fear. I have become a catastrophic thinker partly as a result.
    I am so, so glad your daughter is OK- what a terrifying experience for her. I totally get your own shock and terror. It is our worst nightmares faced right there. Sending all the good wishes from here to you and yours and hoping Cheyenne is 100% better asap.💛💛

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Argh!! I am so glad to hear that she is okay, but goodness, I can see why it all stressed you out!

    I hope she can take it easy for a while to recover…and that you can spend some time recovering from the shock too!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so glad she’s okay! You must have been absolutely terrified. I hope she recovers ASAP. My mother worked in an ER for many years and she goes nuts when she sees how things are run sometimes even here in the U.S., because it just makes the opposite of sense. I’m hoping that particular hospital isn’t indicative of how they do things over there!

    I was hit by a car when I was 15 (in the U.S.) and broke a lot of bones, half of which they didn’t discover until I’d been there for two days and still couldn’t be moved an inch without crying out in pain. It wasn’t until one of my doctors really saw the distress on my face that he ordered a CT scan and saw that I was much more badly injured than they had first thought when they did the initial x-rays. My mother found my broken foot another day later when it was sticking out from under the covers and she said, “HELLO? Anyone want to take a look at this broken foot???”

    Needless to say, I haven’t been back to that hospital since! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m glad Cheyenne will be okay. What a scary accident! Here in Canada, the healthcare system seems to be less likely to do x-rays than they are in the U.S. as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So glad she is OK. Everyone take it easy on yourselves. Not the same, but when I fell in the street years ago, they glued my eyebrow instead of stitching it. They were more worried about Neil’s blood pressure than my face. I thought that was kind of cute.

    Liked by 1 person

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