So this incident goes back to when I had just started my internship at a government hospital in Chandigarh. It was a balmy evening and I was posted in emergency. At round 8 PM the staff nurse came in hurriedly to explain that a woman had been brought in but she did not seem able to respond. Even as we headed to the triage section a small crowd of anxious attendants had already gathered outside. Even as we waded through the crowded corridors I could hear women wailing. I didn’t know what to expect for it was just my 3rd day on duty.
The woman lay there pale and dead still. Even as the consultant went through with his check on the ABC’s he immediately called out for CPR. I was spurred into action by that piercing look from the consultant. I dint know what to do but the staff in front of me explained how I needed to push down on the chest. She could not help but smile for it must have looked funny what with all my strange rocking movements. The CPR continued for a while but to no avail. About 20 minutes later the consultant called off the effort and went out to explain to the attendants.
I stood right by her. Her eyes were wide open but unseeing. It was like she could easily just get up right then and walk off. But wasn’t to be. I tried feeling the pulse but no point. This it then… death or the absence of life. Just flesh and bones. We spend so much of time obsessing about this moment but here it was… silent… tranquil… fleeting.
So what really was the end point??? Where do I draw the line to say it’s all over?? Physiologically it’s probably the time you don’t hear the heart or feel the pulse racing. But what about the emotional aspect. Her young child came in and stood there quietly. Even as I looked into his eyes I could see her face in his eyes. I so wished I could be god at that moment.
My gloves came off and I walked off.