Snatching one from Death

Yesterday I go out for sushi with The Magic Nose Gynecologist . We take his car. We get to the Sushi bar and order and about five minutes later he’s paged.

Apparently there is a big problem with a delivery and the baby is in distress. It’s heartrate is down to 50 (I later learn it should be about 120) and an emergency caesarian is necessary. The other OB/Gyn on call is in the operating room. Their is nobody to perform the operation and the baby is dying.

My friend the Doctor announces that we must leave immediately. The propietor is super cool about and tells us to go and will not accept payment.

We run out the door.

My friend is livid. They allow family docs to do deliveries, but they are supposed to notify the OB/Gyns on call of any labors so they can stay close by. We’re fifteen minutes away.

He’s livid for another reason. The woman has been in labor for four hours. This has been a slowly escalating situation. He has not been informed, at all. Now he is being called at the last minute without warning when it’s llife and death.

Worse, once he gets to the hospital, if the baby dies or something goes wrong it is his fault. He will be sued and responsible. It will not be on the shoulders of the incompetant hack who let this happen. “That’s just the way it works he says.”

“Can’t you refuse the patient?” I ask. I hate to see him walk stupidly into disaster.

“Then the kid dies. I didn’t get into medicine to let babies die.”

Now you’re probably not getting the picture of what’s actually happening. At the time we are having this conversation he’s driving his Lincoln Navigator at… I shit thee not, 100 mph down this narrow two lane road. Most of the time he is in the center turning llane, and we are flying in illegal and dangerous manner past cars and trucks. My friend is not ever a good driver, and the Navigator would not be my car of choice on a day with 40 mph gusts of wind to be driving at 100 mph+ on a twisty crowded road.

He is also talking on the phone, shouting at me, shouting at other cars, and working the horn and lights and car controls.

I am well and truly shitting my pants, wondering why it didn’t occur to me to stay at the sushi bar and call somebody to pick me up.

My friend offers to give me his car to take back to my office. I say I’ll walk. He says no, that’s not right, and then we’re having that discussion as well.

Miraculously we arrive at the hospital intact, and my friend runs in to battle death.

I walk back to my office to play financial games with other peopel’s money.

But fate is not yet finished with me. As I walk through the parking lot a car back up and strikes this old lady’s walker. She falls to the ground. Somehow she’s not hurt. The driver asks me if she’s ok and then just takes off. I help her into the hospital.

I walk back to my office to spend my talents doing things that really don’t matter. I just do it well enough to make good money without much effort.

Later the phone rings and it’s my friend.

“Healthy baby,” he says.

We talk for a little while, and when he hangs up I am envious and sad for myself that it is not within me as a human being to do what he does.

Wow. Swooping down like Superman to save the day must be cool. Medicine is a pretty demanding profession, but I’ve heard the emotional perks are well worth it.

Personally, I don’t think that excuses him from driving the way you described though. Last thing he needs is to cause another emergency.

Other than that, another spiffy account Scylla.

My thought as well. I was pretty scared for myself. I’m not sure where I come down on this.

There might not be one right answer there, buddy.

Casting no aspersions on your friend he reminds me of some of the reporters I know. When something kicks into overdrive (say…the President is found to have been banging an intern)(no kidding…l was there when it first broke) the begin moving at warp speed and complaining a lot.

But those moments are what they live for. That rush is the joy of the job.