Thursday, April 05, 2007


“Come on, baby, breathe, please breathe, baby. Come on! You can do it! Please! Come on, honey, do it for mama! Breathe!”

He never did. Despite all of the work, all of the effort of hordes of the best-trained nurses, emergency medical technicians, doctors. Monitors, compressions, tubes, drugs, defibrillations. Two hours hoping beyond hope that something would work. Electromechanical dissociation. And then the deafening wail of a young mother as she realizes that all efforts have failed to bring her baby back.

Glances left, then right. A tear. A glance away. A hug. Clean up. Where’s the family? More tears. The chaplain. Burying the nose back in work. Try to forget. Disconnect. Stay busy. Think. Move on. “Go home and hug your kids.” “I’ve got clinic patients waiting for me.” “Breathe.” “Why?” “We did everything we could.” “What do you think happened?”

Then quiet. No monitors, no hiss of oxygen, no wrappers opening, no words. Just quiet.

Tiny relaxed blue fingers pointed skyward and gripped my soul.

“Doctor, your next patient is in Room 4.”

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