21.8.11

COTW: Man vs. Elephant

Apparently one of the occupational hazards of being a Masai herdsman is the occasional run in with an elephant. What an elephant would want with a bunch of cows I do not know. Maybe the herdsman provoked the elephant's attack somehow - I could ask him when he gets off the vent.

"We have a teenager who was gored by an elephant" was the call I received from my resident the other night. The goring had occurred at 2pm the day before, but the herdsman couldn't move well enough to get home - so it wasn't until the following day that his family came looking for him because the cows hadn't come home.

We took him to the operating room where we pulled grass and dirt out of the three areas he was gored. The first site was through the left chest, where the tusk had gone through his ribs and then up the inside of his chest. Aside from the big hole in his chest, there was no damage to his lung or his heart.


The elephant tried again to inflict a more serious injury - this time running his tusk down the herdsman's neck. I could stick my fingers in the wound and I was right on the carotid artery! But no serious injuries there either. Strike two for the elephant.


The third time, the elephant went for the thigh and got really close to the femoral vessels, but he missed. Strike three.



It is hard to tell whether the elephant's aim was just a bit off or if he was just trying to send this boy a message.

But I think the herdsman wins this one - he is going to have a great story to tell to his buddies the next time they play two truths and a lie - and this helps confirm my theory of the Masai being the toughest people on earth.

1 comment:

Mary said...

The most understated description of a near death experience I have read. Only in Africa.