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More Voices

Every month More Voices invites readers to contribute short nonfiction prose pieces of 40 to 400 words on a healthcare theme.


The rescue squad was heading, fast, for the hospital with a patient on board. Needing help, they picked me up at my office en route.
It was a pleasant, warming spring day in the North Country. There was still plenty of snow in the mountains, but hikers were up there already. Some, from what we called "the flatlands," wore sneakers. She shouldn't have. She slipped. She fell.
Her 23-year-old heart was beating, barely, when I jumped into the ambulance. It wasn't beating when we got to the hospital four minutes later. It would never beat again. All because of a rock that didn't move. And a brain that tragically did.
I found her ID. Her parents' phone number. I took a deep breath.
Then my shaking finger rotated the ratchety dial on the phone. After the final rotation, after the ratcheting had ended, the phone on the other end rang. Then I heard "Hello?"
"Hello..." I said, and their world ended.
Bill Toms
Keene, New Hampshire