Playing dress-up

Me, wearing moulage

On Friday, I volunteered to be a moulage participant for an Advanced Trauma Life Support course being offered for doctors at my medical school’s affiliated hospital. Essentially, I was was made up to look like a trauma victim so that the people in the course could run through what they would need to do based on the injuries I had.

I played a 22-year-old female who was in a head-on collision car accident who was ejected through the windshield on impact. I was supposed to have sustained a tibia/fibula fracture in my left leg, several pelvic fractures, and a few broken ribs, and a great deal of abdominal bruising (with possible internal bleeding?). I was also supposed to have a tension pneumothorax, be extremely anxious and belligerent/combative, and smell of alcohol.

To be honest, I was really hoping that I would be in a coma or something so that I could just go to sleep (I was tired… you can’t blame me), but it was actually rather fun to yell at the doctors and scream that I’m going to die. It was hard to pretend that I was in severe respiratory distress, though– my respiration rate was supposed to be 50 breaths/minute (and I obviously couldn’t breathe anywhere near that fast). The fast and shallow breaths really got tiring after a while.

Apparently the make-up was very convincing, because I had a few concerned people come up to me and ask about it afterwards– it was pretty awkward getting home, since I didn’t get a chance to clean up.