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Tag: emergency room

The Sturgeon

Kind eyes, and a fragile body like a reed
Barely just a presence on the room, as if almost fading
Already into the twilight

Under gentle, careful hands
His body unveils its story with its familiar tells.
The slender wrists, childlike, beneath pitted skin.
Deeply scooped recess above collarbones.
A subtle, solid wedge of liver,
Looming ominously below ribcage.

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Acute Behavioral Crisis

“Who am I, do you know me,” she cries,
this day when earth has turned to rot and mud.
she can not see but for the blaze of anger,
she can not hear the softer voices calling.

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He Said They Move Too Slowly

The ER doc said the trains here
Go too slow
For anybody to kill themselves
By stepping out
In front of one
As if they were sleepy little engines
Without much power
That drifted ghost-like through town
Quietly at night

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In Need of a Prayer

The new patient’s name is Emmanuel. He was sent from his nursing home to our emergency room with a cough and fever. The oxygen level in his blood is well below normal, and he’s gasping for air.

It’s my third week in the local community hospital ER. I’ve been putting in extra on-call time during the COVID pandemic. It’s been rough to get back into the emergency setting while continuing my day job as a

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Flashback

I notice the name on the waiting room
tab; it’s not a remarkable name,
but one I remember
from elementary school

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The Big Chill

The Big Chill

Tonight was yet another night on call in our emergency department–a chilly winter night on which I did a cruel deed: I discharged a homeless man back out into the cold.
This is a routine event in the life of psychiatry residents like myself. Normally, no one would bat an eye. It shouldn’t have mattered to me, either–except that the previous night I’d had to walk home from the hospital parking garage in decidedly adverse

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The Look on Your Face

Priscilla Mainardi ~

Your skin pale with worry,
your mouth a straight line,
the fear in your eyes–
all this told me,
more than the nausea,
more than the fact that I couldn’t move my head,
that something was really wrong.

You thought I wouldn’t see.

I looked up at the ceiling,
at its pattern of dots,
white, and brighter white,
that could

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Night Call

Richard Weiss ~

At two am its insistent ring ambushes me awake.
I whisper, not wanting to disturb my wife or rouse
the dog who will whine for food, write down

the name and number before it’s jumbled, swallow
my resentment on being awakened and listen
to his story–then ask those practiced questions,

scrolling his body from one organ to another.
Tell me about the pain–what it

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Cushioning the Fall

Meghan G. Liroff ~

Angela Harris has been here in the hospital for six hours, awaiting the results of her CAT scan. I won’t take responsibility for all of that wait time: complicated CAT scans and labs do take a significant amount of time to perform. But she didn’t need to wait the last hour.

She was waiting on me–her emergency physician–because I needed to confirm her cancer diagnosis with radiology, arrange some oncology follow-up…and

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Walking Each Other Home

Allie Gips ~

Winter in New England and
night replaces afternoon, darkness wraps the streets while we are all still inside.
There are no windows in the Emergency Department anyway
except of course the window into this city–the stream of women with bruised arms
and orbits that they will not explain, the revolving door of opiate addicts
nodding off, crying out, praying for forgiveness, the chronic-pain patients who rip

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Coming Up Short

Meghan G. Liroff ~

“Why so short?” says the four-year-old girl who’s here with an upper-respiratory infection.

Standing safely between her dad’s knees, she wears a bright pink jumpsuit. Her cheeks are dimpled; her hair is piled in a frizzy bun. She looks me up and down, as if trying to make sense of me.

I can’t help laughing.

It’s true, I think. At five feet even, I’m not blessed with height–but I

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25 Minutes

Pager rings. Just 5 minutes to get to the ED. Calling down as I rush to the trauma elevators, they tell me over the phone “Shots fired at a hotel in downtown Los Angeles.” I know that place…

At least 3 people arriving. The ED is bustling, preparing for their arrival. Blade and Prolene stitch in my scrub pocket, I am ready. We are ready.

For a moment the ED almost seems silent.

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