Geoff Galbraith, MD

Summer 2007 - Volume 11 Number 3

Listen ...

Bright linoleum tiles reflecting the fluorescent glow, monitors quiet, yet persistent blinking and cooing--me? Trepidation, on call, Saturday night in the ICU (... will there be something I can't handle?) ... quiet, patients "tucked in." "Hmmm, may be a good night."

Beeping ... clarion call, ER-"58-year-old tourist in transit, collapsed, possible chest pain." Down the stairs, ten floors, no waiting for elevators, too anxious to wait, chance to think, plan, imagine what might happen, glad to trot down.

Arrival, ambulance, urgent fanfare--gurney rolling, in position, quick team lift, "Watch the head." Report out: "sudden collapse at the Kaiser Hawaiian Village, pulse rapid, thready, perspiring on arrival, not responding." Chest exposed, the white of the corpulent flesh, electrodes in place--monitor wide complex, "V FIB." "No pulses, oxygen, paddles--CLEAR!" (I hate when the body lifts like that.) GOOD, regular rhythm.

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