Crepitus isn't encountered as much today, as I have in the past. I once was driving home from the store on a highway, and saw this car upside down in the middle of a yard. Pulled over and found the driver thrown out through the window, several yards from the car,(it flipped 3 times) and he was laying unconscious, with his neck at a weird angle. First , of course, ABCs, and I made sure he was breathing, held his neck so it would not move should he awaken. No alcohol on breath, but felt the crepitus as I was basically feeling for fractures around clavicle, neck, etc. Called 911, had to wait forever for ambulance, even after they arrived, it took forever. Reported the crepitus, and LOC since I arrived, put on collar, and the paramedic, told me, You wouldn't know if it were crepitus, and he doesn't have it. WRONG< he did, lung down, needed resusciation n ambulance,and spent weeks n ICU, Had a brain injury. I don;t remember when I learned to assess it , I had lots of certifications, but think maybe it was the trauma certification, as the instructor for that particular time, let motorcycle injuries dominate, and we did lots of detailed assessments, plus learned to take of the helmet of a rider,that flipped,dented, etc.
You took the steps outlined in the protocol for your unit. The physcian should have noted the signs. BUT they miss too. Perhaps the attending should have addressed his frustrations with the ON call dr.