The shooter in my hospital

It was 5:27 p.m. on a Friday evening when the pager went off. “Ahh,” said the intern, “Three minutes before shift change, and the ER is paging for another admission!”

I could see the dismay on his face as he dreaded the thought of staying late on yet another Friday night. I decided to take care of this patient myself and relieved the intern of his duties. As I went downstairs to the ER, I felt the restiveness in the atmosphere. Walking through the busy hallway of the ER, I saw a bunch of people rushing in and out of a room and my feet impulsively started walking towards there knowing that had to be my patient.

As I entered the room, I saw the nurse bagging the patient to deliver oxygen. Next to her was the ER resident with an endotracheal tube in his hand but was unable to intubate the patient. The ER attending attempted next but failed to intubate the patient as well. Minutes later, the anesthesiologist hastily entered the room and tried to intubate the patient but failed as well. The patient’s husband stood sobbing across the room. His fists were clenched, his skin was flushed, his eyes looked down as he slowly fidgeted holding back his tears. I gently paced walked towards him and introduced myself. His voice trembled as he said, “We were just having a nice meal when she choked on her hamburger.” His eyes showed deep agony as if life had been unfair to him. He eventually said that the patient had a history of multiple back surgeries with rods in her back which caused an inability to extend her neck leading to the multiple failed intubation attempts. We decided to scope the patient’s airway and were finally successful in intubating the patient. I stayed late that night stabilizing the patient and made sure the patient was well taken care of.

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