Too Young to Die

Another story, part truth, part fiction. Loosly based in reality.

He left his home that weekend morning to earn a little extra money. His construction job allowed him flexible work hours during the week, but also on the weekends. His wife took the kids shopping and had a valentines dinner planned. It wasn’t anything special, but it was, after all, valentine’s day.

He was standing on the ground floor when it happenned, but all he had been doing was hammering nails. His supervisor heard a thud, looked over, and there he was on the ground. The ambulance arrived within minutes of him falling. He had no pulse and wasn’t breathing. The crew started their usual routine, hooked up the monitor, got out the bag mask, started pushing air into his lungs and started CPR. They got out all their routine cardiac arrest meds. Push some Epi. Push some atropine. Shock. Intubate. You know, the usual stuff.

They were on scene for over 20 minutes, with little improvement in his condition. His eyes were getting glazed, surely brain damage had already begun due to a lack of circulating blood and oxygen. Finally, the man was loaded up into the back of the ambulance, where CPR continued all the way into the emergency department. Quick report was given to the nurses and the physician who were waiting in the room prior to his arrival.

How long? the doctor asked. How many shocks? She queried. How many rounds of epinephrine?

The team quickly hooked him up to the hospital monitors, which told the same story as the medics’. No pulse. No rhythm. A few last effort meds were given…calcium, bicarb, the position of the endotracheal tube was confirmed.

“Time of death…” called out a soft, matter of fact voice…

All activity stopped. The medics quickly gathered their items. The nurses conferred with one another to be certain everything was adequately documented. The charge nurse called the family who lived over an hour away. “You need to come to the hospital right away…you’re husband is very sick…”

The physician finshed up her shift long before the deceased patient’s wife arrived.

“I have a really bad signout for you,” she said to the oncoming doc…

The new doc reviewed the medic and nurses notes so that she too had a good grasp of all the effort that had gone into trying to revive a heart that had given up. The wife finally arrived, the new doc took 10 minutes out of her busy day to give the harsh news to her. She was less than 40 years old.

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