His general appearance: Obese, elderly, unkempt beard, dressed all in fur from head to toe. Jolly. His eyes: twinkling. Abdomen: Protuberant. Soft. Tinkling bowel sounds. Bowlful of jelly wave. Verbal: Responds “fa-la-la” to multiple questions. Ho Ho Ho’ing with glee.

Thus were some of the initial surveys completed of a patient recently admitted to the MGH, after sustaining blunt trauma during some reindeer games in his Southern stable that got a bit too rowdy. The patient in question: Ol’ Saint Nicholas.

According to the Department of Surgery residents who cared for him, one of his reindeer became aggressive during the games and kicked him, knocking him to the ground. Upon his arrival to the MGH Emergency Department, Santa Claus was disoriented – convinced that he was surfing in the Bahamas rather than strapped to a hard board in the hospital.

Claus was examined by the Trauma team – who identified injuries to his chest, abdomen and groin in hoof-print-shaped markings from the reindeer’s kicks. He also was found to have a mistletoma in the head of his pancreas. Numerous hospital departments consulted on the jolly old man during his stay in order to provide the best possible care, including Psychiatry, Cardiology, Urology, Endocrinology and Pulmonology.

The annual admission of Santa Claus as an MGH patient dates back to the early 1950s, when a surgical resident first decided to log a humorous account of the old man’s ailments. Caring for Claus has become a beloved tradition for MGH residents.

Santa is expected to make a full recovery and be cleared for flying by Christmas Eve, his busiest night of the year. 



Read more articles from the 12/16/16 Hotline issue.