This morning I was working half a night shift. Sometimes we split them, because now that many of us are past 40, we’re rather soft when it comes to being awake all night.

It really was a coast to the finish line! Six patients between 3 am and 7 am. But at 6 am EMS goes out on a cardiac arrest. A pediatric cardiac arrest, 7 months old.

We pulled together equipment, knowing that the apartment complex was nearby. We called for X-ray and respiratory therapy. We felt our collective pulses rise, our blood pressures bound upward. We felt ready for tears to well up.

EMS called in for the coroner. The child was so dead that even they couldn’t justify working the arrest, putting in tubes and IV’s. I imagined that her family found her cold, still, blue, the blood pooled in soft sides.

I prayed, as soon as the tone went out, that it was false. A panicked family. A child coughing, a child with croup, as so often happens. But a child died.

I prayed for them again. But I can’t say I wasn’t happy they didn’t transport her. I went home without images of a dead child and a screaming family.

Bless her heart, I was glad I didn’t see her. Fortunately, God was glad to see her when she arrived home.

Ed