Late night researching and experiments are done, hoping for a possible answer. And whether they get sleep or not. If they're stressed or not. Whatever might be going on in their lives these doctors remain composed. They're clear minded, and highly capable.
My heart is racing. Arm hairs stand on end. Imposter syndrome. It feels like an out of body experience. I’m watching these events happen from a third person perspective. Countless tests were run on both the patients. And one of them just died. The symptoms are identical in the one I’m watching and she has just begun to seize. No words describe the horror I feel. This patient that isn’t even mine. Dr. Krapovski left me in charge while he tends to his recently deceased other patient. I’m alone.
The nursing staff scrambles into the room with a crash cart. A couple of deep breaths and I focus. Pull back onto the game. The balls on my court.
A nurse hands me levetiracetam and I sent it right through the patients IV. She rapidly calms to a full halt before her monitor flat lines.
The nurse preps the defibrillator. I apply both paddles. “CLEAR!” I say. The girl’s body jumps, chest first. No response.
“CLEAR!” I repeat. Still nothing. “Again!” The defibrillator charges. “CLEAR!” She twitches and her monitor is back on. A faint heartbeat.
Beep. A second goes by. Beep. Paced and cautious heart. Beep.
Dr. Krapovski is still not back. Who knows what’s going on with the other patient? This girl is on the edge and needs immediate care. But this is my first real case. I just finished my residency. There are zero reference moments in my life which qualify and justify my involvement. It can’t be helped. The hospital is short staffed. They need me where I am. As incapable as I might be it beats leaving no one with the patient.
The job is basic. The girl needs to remain alive until Krapovski returns.
Except she flat lined again, and is unresponsive to the defibrillator. This might be the one.
Moments turtle by. Sluggish seconds move across a minute stretched thin. She’s reacting to nothing.
“Call it.” Krapovski says from behind me.
“12:30pm.” I say.
Dr. Krapovski walks me out of the patient’s room. Out of the intensive care unit. To the waiting room, where he approaches her boyfriend.
He tells her boyfriend she’s dead.
Wide open eyes. Anger and confusion wash over the boyfriend’s face. He was expecting good news. Or at least better news.
This caught him off guard. And out of shock he stood and walked right out of the hospital. And to my knowledge he’s not returned.
As horrifying as the experience might be, it’s allowed me to face the reality. This job. This career. This path I’ve chosen to give my life to. It’s going to be hard. And this is just the start. This is the first of several terrible things I’ll experience in my life. Because I can’t save everyone.
And we all have an expiration date.