I work night shifts this month. That means, I walk into a nearly empty hospital at 7PM and leave at 7AM when everyone else is coming in yawning and puffy-eyed! So far, I’ve been able to leave in a fairly decent mood in part because of the high that 6AM coffee gives to my sleep-deprived brain. But, last night was different.

I was finishing my shift and it was almost 6AM. I was carrying, along-with my regular pager, what we call the “Code Pager” which is a dreadful gadget that only rings when someone in the hospital “codes”, meaning comes very close to or is on their way to death. We got paged for a new patient who had just rolled in from one of the hospitals nearby. Of course he was sick. But we didn’t know just how much, and that caught us off-guard.

He had come in unconscious, breathing heavy and in that moment, for all that I knew, with a very little chance of survival over the next few hours. We gave him all that we could, but he wouldn’t improve. It was twenty minutes to 7AM. Continue reading