A Bat and a Broken Hand

Donna was quite embarrassed today when she told me how she injured her hand. Last night she discovered a bat flying around her house. (Bats are relatively harmless, except for rare cases of rabies, and do a lot of good by eating insects.) Panicking like most people do when they see a bat, she began swinging various objects at the bat, including a folding gate and broom. Sometime during the course of this struggle, she injured her right hand. She had trouble sleeping that night because of the pain, and so she came to my office.

On examination, she had a slightly swollen hand and a worrisome clicking with movement of the bone. The x-ray, which I ordered, sure enough, showed a fracture of the 4th metacarpal (one of the bones in the middle of the hand). I was certainly surprised at the mechanism of injury, but it makes for a good story. Through it all, Donna maintained a sense of humor about her bad luck. I formed a fiberglass splint, which provided immediate comfort, and will see her back in one week.