Last month, there was an incident in the hospital I work in. A young girl, not more than 5 years old, accompanied by her parents came to our hospital with an apparent injury to her eye. There was obvious internal bleeding localised to a section of her eye, suggestive of an incident of trauma, though her parents denied any injurious event. As an anaesthetist, my role was to elicit any significant history from the local guardians and inform them of the anaesthesia I would be providing as the child was not likely to sit still during the procedure.
While asking her parents the routine questions, I was getting the usual 'nothing wrong' answer from her parents and was pretty much just ticking boxes on the form. When I asked them if their child had been admitted previously in any hospital for any other illness, the parents promptly said no and I looked down to tick the relevant box out of habit. As I looked up, I noticed the child looking at her parents and pointing towards her knee. The parents motioned for her to keep quiet. 9 out of 10 times, I would not have even looked up from the sheet I was filling. 99 out of a 100 times, it would have probably not even registered on my radar. But this time, it did. And doing so saved us all - the parents, the child and the hospital - from a catastrophe.