I got an email titled “Sad news.” It is from my friend Tom. “Hate to break this to you in an e-mail, but David died yesterday. He was found in his home when he did not report to work, dead of an apparent heart attack. I will forward funeral information in case you can attend. […]


I’m assigned a paramedic student. And while I love students, I’m not too happy to be precepting this one. She is as close to clueless as you can get and still be allowed to ride. I precepted her a couple weeks ago. She talked a good game so I figured it would be an easy […]

In the Dark

We’re called for a stabbing. Its dark and when we pull up on scene, we can see officers with guns drawn. We stage and wait the word to go in. It’s hard to tell what’s going on, then another cop comes running out into the street right for us. We step out. “You’re going to […]

Behind Every Door

I’m standing in triage with my patient when I find myself looking at a man standing unsteadily by the entrance to the ER. A security guard has his hand on the man’s upper arm, both holding him up and keeping him from walking away. The guard tells the nurse. “I found him outside. What room […]

The Stink

About Tuesday I noticed a foul smell in the ambulance — a smell like someone had left a meat sandwich under the seat or a mouse had died somewhere in the woodwork. We left the ambulance outside with the doors open for two hours, but it didn’t help. It was a nasty smell, sometimes it […]

Daily Special

We get called for a fall at the local fast food chicken restaurant. Back in the kitchen, the woman is laying on the ground between the fryers and the food prep table. She’s maybe twenty-two, but a big woman — looks like she’s been dining on the fast food fare most of her life. I’m […]

The Stretcher

Arthur is making up the stretcher by the linen cart just inside the ER doors. “I’m going down to the cafeteria to get a sandwich,” he says, as he tightens the last strap. “You want anything?” “No, I’m good. I just have to get times and drop off my report.” I end up getting in […]

Coming and Going

We’re sent on a priority to for the unresponsive, but when the cops get there they slow us down. It’s a 10- a dead body. We go in and walk down into the basement where we find the cops standing around the body. A man in his forties is sitting on a couch, his head […]

The Man Who Wouldn't Die

We’re called for a person not feeling well in an elderly housing hi-rise not far from the hospital. The man is an emaciated AIDS patient, who is laying naked on the couch in his dark apartment. he has a colostomy bag. His girlfriend says they were at the emergency department for seven hours today, then […]

Death in a Nursing Home

We’re called for a child not breathing. The address is a convalescent home. It makes no sense. Then we pull up. There is a car parked askance by the entrance, two front doors and a back door open. The engine still running. In the front lobby two nurses and a police officer kneel over a […]

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