One night a motorcyclist crashed into a bridge. The rider was on his way home from a party. Traveling at about 70 mph on the unlit, two-lane road, he lost control on a curve. He lay next to his motorcycle for 20 minutes before a passerby noticed the wreckage.
A half hour later, the rider was lying on a gurney in the local hospital. Moaning in pain, he was unaware of his condition or whereabouts. The emergency room doctors gave him no medication—they needed to examine him thoroughly before taking him to surgery.
His jaw was broken, as were all three bones in his right leg. Part of his femur was protruding through his thigh, and there was a deep hole in his shin just below his knee. Dr. Kildare wanted to amputate the rider's leg just below the knee. He said the hole in the shin was so deep that infection would be inevitable. He figured amputation now would be better than amputation later.
Dr. Welby disagreed. He said the patient was young enough to heal rapidly, with little possibility of significant infection. Since Dr. Welby was in charge, the patient was allowed to keep his leg.
The day following surgery, the patient achieved brief consciousness in his hospital room. He didn't notice that his leg was suspended and completely immobilized. He didn't notice that there was an IV tube and needle taped into the back of each hand. He didn't notice that his jaw was wired shut. All he noticed was that a beautiful young nurse was looking at him. He tried to introduce himself, but he had no idea what his name was. He went right back to sleep.