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Tag: code

Over the Rainbow

Two days after the bus crash, I died. It was March 1996. A bus traveling at 60 mph had hit the car I was in, shattering my fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae and instantly paralyzing me from the shoulders down.

I was only twenty years old, and father to a one-year-old son. I spent the following forty-eight hours at a nearby hospital, on life support in the ICU. I couldn’t speak or breathe on my

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It’s Monday. I wake up at 7:15 am, go down to my apartment building’s lobby and meet with friends to work out before the rest of the day begins. We do arms, chest and back for an hour, then my friend PJ and I hit the steam room and head back to our apartments.

I call my mom for five minutes, then shower, dress and, before breakfast, knock out some flashcards on my laptop, like

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First Code Blue

When I started medical school, I kept hearing about “firsts.” The first time in the OR, the first delivery of a baby, the first death of a patient.

In a profession that is so intricately intertwined with the ultimate highs and lows of human life, there are a number of experiences that inevitably go on to leave permanent marks on the mind. I was always told that my first code blue would be one of

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Still Too Early

Still too early to know if I’m here
They put up paper snowmen in the nursing station
On white walls
The familiar dull-high pitched rhythms
Open the list. It’s always here.
Labs, settings. Sats too low.
Are numbers really people-
“She’s maxing out – full code, too.”
“Bed 27.”

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Gift of Gratitude

We all remember our patients who die, though the first patient death really stands out from the rest. This was certainly true for me.

I was just starting the second year of my internal-medicine residency. This wasn’t the first time I’d seen someone die, but it was the first time I’d seen someone who’d been alive and well, and talking to me that morning, be dead by the afternoon–a shocking dichotomy that haunts me to

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Living-Room Code

Living-Room Code

It was a cold Friday morning, and my day started slow. I was a third-year emergency-medicine resident in West Philadelphia and was doing my EMS rotation.
I rode with the EMS lieutenant, who told me, “My job is to assist the medics with the bad stuff.” This, he explained, usually meant codes (cardiac arrests) and fires.
Then we got the first call and zipped through the city, lights and sirens blaring.
Detachedly, I wondered what

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First Time, Last Time

“Deeper compressions! Deeper! Make sure you get that recoil!”

I push harder and lift off higher. I’m starting to sweat. My stethoscope is banging around my neck. I should have taken it off, I think. My hair is flying around my face. I should have tied it up. I’m on tiptoe; my legs are cramping. I should have stood on a step stool.

“All right, she’s getting tired. Next!”

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The Fighter

This was the third time he coded. Dean had been in the ICU for over a week without any visitors, telephone calls, flowers or balloons. He came in after an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest which he survived and subsequently had another arrest halfway through his stay here. He sure was a fighter.

With special help from the ICU team, we found a contact number for his mother after doing some research on the internet. I was

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Code Blue

Stephen W. Leslie

I was startled awake at 3:40 am by a loudspeaker blaring “Code Blue…Code Blue.” 

As the hospital’s newly hired chaplain intern, I’d been sleeping in the overnight room. Stumbling out of bed and groggily changing out of my pajamas, I made sure to put on my hospital badge. 

I made my way to the hospital’s “Z” building, where the ICU was located, and took the elevator to the fourth floor. The elevator

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Cracking the Code

Zohar Lederman

I am a medical student in Pavia, Italy, doing my fifth year out of six. It is summertime, and, as I’ve done every summer for years, I’ve returned to my small hometown in the south of Israel. There, among other things, I volunteer as an emergency medical technician (EMT) with Magen David Adom, the Israeli Red Cross. 

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