Scenes from an ED

The helicopter crew turns the corner ahead of us in their blue jumpsuits. Their patient doesn't look too bad. She's awake, sitting up on their stretcher. I cannot see a heart monitor or any IVs, and I wonder what she did to warrant flying.

We roll together into the Acute area of Big City Trauma Center. The sickest people in three states all congregate here. The triage nurse asks, “Who's got the pediatric trauma?” I raise my hand like a school kid, and we are ushered past the healthier helicopter patient into our own room. The trauma team pounces.

Two doors down, we pass a Thumper machine doing CPR. The team is calm and organized, but outside I can hear a doctor having the “His prognosis is very poor” conversation with a distraught-looking family member.

Two doors in the other direction, my coworkers arrive with an unconscious three year old on a backboard. The trauma team is briefly disturbed, but like an amoeba they split, reform, and begin to do twice as much work.

We gather our equipment and pass yet another helicopter crew on the way out. These medics are dressed in green from head to toe. I ponder where they might have parked.

Restock the truck, refill my tea, sync the report to the server, and we are off into the night again. Summer has begun.