Last Words

October 11, 2010
“She’s going critical! Get some oxygen in here, stat!”

The EMT rushed a canister into the room in order to get at least some oxygen into her lungs. The breathing, slow as it was, was becoming dangerously nonexistent. They got the flashlight and shined it into her eyes…no response in her pupils. What happened to make this girl resort to swallowing so much Vicodin?

“Come on, wake up!” Dr. Enslin said as he squeezed the Ambu bag above her mouth and nose. He saw her chest rising up and down, but no reaction came from her face. Just the same, death-like look that she had when they brought her into the room. She still had that steady, yet slow heartbeat, but it wasn’t enough for Enslin.

“Wake up, please,” he couldn’t stop saying that with every pump of the oxygen.

Now her heart rate was on the fritz. It was slowing down way too much to mean that it was a good sign. They got the AED online and hooked up while the good doctor stood back. Frustration came over him like tidal wave as the increasingly powerful shocks did little to make the heart spring back to life.

Her heart rate steadied, and her eyes slowly lifted themselves open. Dr. Enslin looked at the girl with relief, but only to hear something he wished he could forget.

“I’m…so sorry,” she said softly. “Tell…my mom…I’m so sorry.” Her eyes then closed again.
There was that dreaded sound of the long beep. After at least two more shocks, they tried once again, only to get nothing.

“NO!” Dr. Enslin shouted. “We’re NOT losing her!”

He kept using the AED on her, hoping that there would be a miracle in the hospital today––the first he would see in months. He knew, but wouldn’t accept it until a minute later. The trash can fell to the floor as the doctor swiftly kicked it. He leaned on the gurney, and then said the three words that tore at his soul more than any other phrase.

“Time of Death?”

“8:47 PM.” The nurse said looking at her watch. A tear streamed down her face while the words came out of a lumpy throat.

“Who’s going to tell them?” Not one nurse volunteered, which made Enslin sweat even harder. “Fine, I’ll go. Good job today, guys.”

He went through the doors of the waiting room slowly, and gave the sobbing parents the bad news.

He was terribly sorry.

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