One of the first patients I see is Aliya*. She cries out as we edge her jeans off as gently as possible to examine her. She is 12 years old. She has a dark bruise the size of a man’s fist on her upper thigh. Except it was not a fist that caused this, it was a rubber bullet. Aliya has been shot with a rubber bullet whilst walking with her mother near her home.
I ask her weight, in order to calculate the correct dose of pain relief for her. She weighs just 28kg, and she has been shot. She cannot walk, meaning that we worry that she has a fracture in her femur. We transfer her to hospital for an x-ray.
My colleague Andy is suturing a 14 year old boy, Walid. He has been hit in the face by a rubber bullet, less than a centimetre from his left eye. A tiny glance of fate has allowed him to keep his eye. A boy treated by the PRCS and taken immediately to hospital earlier in the evening lost his left eye from a similar injury. The picture of that injury flashes through my mind as I watch Andy and Rajah, one of our PRCS colleagues, expertly repairing Walid’s young face. There is no-one with Walid. He sits for a few hours after in the TSP as we monitor his head injury, no one is able to come for him. I wonder if the person who shot him thinks about the impact of losing an eye for a 14 year old.