I often pick up extra shifts at work and this month I had decided to work several extra shifts. On this particular day, I showed up and it was busy like any other day in the ER. However, I was supposed to leave after a short shift since I had to go to a baby shower. I will never forget the call. It wasn’t the first time a cardiac arrest was coming in. A woman in her 40’s had gone into cardiac arrest. However, upon her arrival the information changed and we realized she was actually a lot younger, and someone with a disease with known poor outcome and prognosis. We worked on her for 3 and 1/2 hours. Somewhere in there, halfway through the code, I stopped and looked into her eyes. She was long gone. She wasn’t there. I looked into the eyes of her family surrounding her and surrounding us as we attempted to resuscitate her. We didn’t have the time to stop to comfort them. I hated that but I knew they knew she was who we cared about most in that moment. We couldn’t stop our efforts to resuscitate so we kept going. No one wanted to stop. We all kept going. Looking back, the trauma room we were in looked like one of those trauma rooms on a tv show you watch with stuff all over the place. The mess didn’t concern us. What mattered was she was getting every treatment possible, we were doing everything for her that we could think of and was within our power to do for her. We were running fluids, hanging blood, giving meds, ruling out any and all possible causes. We worked long and we worked hard but it was her time. She was somebody’s wife, somebody’s sister, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s mother. I left work to head back home later than I was supposed to that day. It didn’t hit me then but on the drive home, I realized I wasn’t going to make it to the baby shower. Tears started rolling down my face. I had participated in other codes before. What was going on with me? I didn’t personally know her but I knew she was young in age. I knew she was loved by many. I knew from what I saw and heard that she had a huge family and had a profound impact on those around her. I knew she made a difference. From everything I could tell, I saw a beautiful person inside and out. She left behind a legacy and her memory will stay with me.
Please follow and like us: